Peace be with you, friends.
One of my dear mentors, Gordon Cosby, would say, “In times of crisis, go deeper…”
We are in a crisis, and I’m ready to go deeper and help you go deeper too. Last week I wrote to our staff and board, “I’m feeling energized by the opportunity to redemptively engage COVID-19 and all of its impact. In all things and in each of our lives, God is up to something, and that thing will be good.”
I have way more to say than this email can hold, so I’ll try to be brief and blunt and clear as possible. In short, after a couple of very disorienting weeks for all of us, Coracle is now clear and solid in what we are wanting to offer you and how we’re wanting to bless others in the very challenging weeks to come. It’s been a long time since I’ve done this, but I’m asking that you read this in its entirety as I feel strong and clear about the range of ways we’re engaging COVID-19, and I want you to know about it because I really hope to do this together. Our thoughts have been quite influenced by our friend Andy Crouch’s (et al) important article here. To use his imagery, what follows represents our winter plan even if the blizzard isn’t quite finished.
Simply, our goal and theme for the next little while is to “Go Deeper and Bless”. We want to and we invite you to go deeper into God, go deeper into relationships, and bless others in the time of coronavirus. How that’s going to happen will take a lot of forms, and more details follow at the end of this letter. Along the way, be sure to regularly check our Digital Gatherings web-page where all these offerings and Zoom information will be contained and regularly updated, and our calendar is here. All that we’re doing is designed to take full advantage of this moment for our sake, for God’s sake, and for the sake of others.
- We are offering “Conversations from Corhaven” on Zoom, a ‘happy hour’ of sorts at the end of the day to create space to talk together about important questions like, “How might God Redeem COVID? How are you moving from Surviving to Thriving? How Are You Doing, Actually? How has God been forming you?”
- We will offer several timely Digital Soundings Seminars. Last week we had one on “Education in a Time of Coronavirus” and you can watch or listen to that recording (and get the resource guide) here. Next up is “Resilient Faith: A Theology & Spirituality That Can Handle COVID” that I will lead. Then, Barbara Ryan will offer “Handling Grief and Hardship During COVID (and After)” in a few weeks. Lord have mercy, soon many many more people will be struggling with grief (including me).
- Karla, Drew, and I will be offering regular short little “Simple Soundings” videos, brief reflections on whatever God is laying on our hearts to offer, like this one I shared last week. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram for those.
- Going Deeper in relationship with you. Karla or Drew or I will be reaching out to many of you in the next couple of weeks to schedule short phone calls or Zooms to hear how you’re doing and keep you posted on how and what we’re doing. Feel free to reach out to us, too! Also, our Coracle Community gatherings will continue monthly, just on Zoom. Read more about that here. For those of you who would like to join us but haven’t yet for logistical reasons, this is the perfect opportunity to do it! Further, we have a Google Group where folks in our orbit share thoughts and conversations. The group name is “Coracle Community” and you can email Karla about joining if you’re interested.
- On Saturday, May 9 we will offer you a virtual retreat from Corhaven. I’ll lead that, and it’ll be along the lines of fear and strength or engaging God in times like this. We will create space for you to meet God and be met by God, just like Corhaven always does.
- Many of our regular Coracle opportunities will continue for you, just virtually, including time for contemplative prayer with Word & Silence, our Book & Movie Club, giving you carefully curated resources for your strengthening with our weekly newsletter like we have been doing, and this is a great time to reach out for spiritual direction which can be offered virtually.
- Giving Financially to those in need: On our website’s Support Page, we have set up a COVID-19 Benevolence Fund. We will gather donations and distribute them in three places. In Harrisonburg, we will help Ken Wettig, our Community Minister for the Shenandoah Valley, shepherd those resources to people’s needs that become known to the church that he pastors, Early Church. And here locally in Shenandoah County, we will pass on those funds to Luke’s Backpack which provides meals on the weekends to kids in the public schools here who are on free and reduced lunch programs. In Northern Virginia, we will help Young Life minister to needy families from Falls Church High School by distributing material and financial support under the leadership of Anna Martinez, one of this year’s Coracle Fellows. Your support will go 100% to these ministries and we will keep none for our overhead. Also, this virus is going to profoundly impact the majority world. I would encourage you to consider giving internationally via the Anglican Relief and Development Fund, of which I’m currently chairman. Information about that can be found here, and those funds will be directly distributed by churches on the ground throughout the world.
- Growing Food to Give: Right now at Corhaven there are three cows. This fall, we’ll butcher one and donate that meat locally to people who are facing food insecurity. We’re raising two pigs now for the same reason. And this year over 50% of the produce from the garden here will be offered to those who most need it. If you love gardening, come out to Corhaven this summer to help out! We’ll have plenty of good work to do with God’s good earth.
Friends, join us, let’s deepen and serve together, especially in a time like this. Let us know if there are ways we can support and serve you, or if you have ideas on how Coracle can serve others. We are fully committed to your deepening in God and serving others in this time. It’s why Coracle exists. Our mission statement was designed for such a time as this, “to inspire and enable people (that’s me, you, and all of us) to be the presence of God in the brokenness of the world.” So let’s do that, shall we, and do it together?
Go Deep and Bless!
On the journey (with you),
See the “CORACLE DIGITAL GATHERINGS” Button on the homepage and at the top of every page for an updated list of upcoming events.