Happy Bright Week friends! This is the week when we continue to bask in the joy of the Resurrection, and there’s much to be joyful about, even as we carry the burdens of our days. There’s much to tell you about, many good things, and if you read between the lines of our weekly newsletter you know there’s a lot going on (including our “Space for God” times which have been so good!).
For this little personal note from me, I want to highlight two things that a) I’m super excited about and b) that you haven’t heard of yet. I so wish I could sit with you over a cup of coffee or be with you at Corhaven and share these things with you so you could ‘feel my joy,’ but the written word will have to suffice. I’ll be brief, but do read to the end to get the essence of these developments.
The first one is actually about that… essence. Over the Christmas break, against the background of observing many people variously disappointed with the church writ large and weary in their own faith and journey, I was inspired to write about the deep and broad and soaring stuff of Christianity, from start to finish, and locate the beautiful invitations to us in it, AND locate all of Coracle’s programs within it. It literally only took a day to write 15 thematic paragraphs with all the footnotes, a mini-systematic theology/spirituality of sorts. It just spilled out of my heart and fingers after 30-something years of thinking about these things and trying to incarnate them. The writing process itself was an encounter with the glory and beauty of God, and I hope the same is true in reading and working with the result!
Thus, it’s with great joy that we announce “Essential Christianity” in its draft form. Our hope is to really launch this resource more publicly this coming fall for anyone looking to refresh their Christian life or maybe discover the full wonder of our faith for the first time. To get ready for that, we’re starting with a ‘pilot’ a 6-week course on Thursday nights from May 13-June 17 for about 25 people. I’ll teach through it, and we’ll discuss it, which will help us ferret out what could be better and clearer, see what should be added or subtracted, notice the questions that come up, and simply figure out the best way to go through this in a group.
If you’re interested in being a part of that, express your interest here. Space for the pilot is limited, and we’re shooting for a diverse set of perspectives. The full document is here if you’re just curious to look it though or even start using it for your own devotional life and find sustenance.
And, second, you likely already know about the Corhaven Graveyard expansion project to build a Peace Pavilion and the Hush Harbor Chapel. Great news! Of our original $80,000 goal, to date, we’ve raised almost $50,000! This is great, thank you! The sooner we reach our goal, the sooner more people will be able to encounter this powerful testimony to hope, beauty, and dignity in the face of a tragic history of injustice.
In mid-March, we had a fantastic first workday for the Hush Harbor Chapel and hosted our first chapel service in it led by Sarah Kohrs! It was even more powerful than I could have expected.
But here’s the real news. We are expanding this project to include building TWO MORE contemplative prayer spaces, not in the country, but in our own inner-cities where we have many connections– one in Washington DC’s Anacostia neighborhood and the other in Baltimore’s Sandtown neighborhood.
I’m so grateful for Rev. Kendrick Curry, Coracle’s board co-chair and pastor of Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church, who will help shepherd this project in DC, and for Scott Buresh, our Community Minister in Baltimore and Patty Prasada Rao, Repentance Project coordinator, who will shepherd this in Sandtown.
Creating these outdoor prayer gardens will do a few things, including:
- Most importantly, they’ll create meaningful spaces in the inner-cities of DC and Baltimore for residents there to pray and encounter God.
- Powerfully, while the Corhaven Graveyard looks backward at history, these urban equivalents will look forward towards healing in God’s power.
- Relationally, they’ll create a network of ‘sister prayer spaces’ between Corhaven, Baltimore, and DC, which will tighten the connections between the people in all these places. Can you imagine a joint ‘prayer pilgrimage’ from Baltimore to DC to rural Virginia (or some combination), praying about our country’s past, present, and future? I can.
We’re seeking to raise $20K for each of these additional urban prayer spaces– $40,000 total.
So, with the addition of these two new prayer spaces to the Corhaven Graveyard expansion project, we have need to raise $70,000 total by Juneteenth. Through these new building projects, we hope to incarnate our commitment both to racial healing and provide opportunities for spiritual formation to anyone, and we invite you to be a part of this exciting work! PLEASE let others know who may be interested in helping bring this healing work into being. If you have questions about any of it, email us.
Looking ahead to this summer, on June 19 we’ll once again offer a Juneteenth service from the Corhaven Graveyard (remember last year?), offered both in-person and virtually. We’ll celebrate what God is doing, grieve how much still needs to be done, and find strength in God to keep doing it. Sign up for that here. All these things are part of our “Towards the Beloved Community: Honesty, Solidarity, Healing” initiative, and I hope you will join us for any or all of it.
Bless you all. An insight from Helen Keller comes to mind. “Life is a daring adventure, or it is nothing.” So it is with life with God, and that adventure is so much better when shared.
On the journey,
PS – Since we began stewarding this historic burial ground for enslaved persons in 2015, Corhaven Graveyard has been a “thin place” where God meets people and starts new and necessary work. We cannot wait to see what new things God will bring into being through the Peace Pavilion and Hush Harbor Chapel, and we very much hope you will be a part of this journey of healing and discovery!