Dear friends and fellow pilgrims, I’ll keep this letter brief as most of what I want to say is in Coracle’s vision for 2024, “The Light Shines in the Darkness”, and I want to tell you about that. But let me start by saying “Thank you!” Thank you. Your participation and financial support of Coracle this past year has made so much possible for many people in many places and spaces (our annual report coming in January will tell more of that story). As I wrote to you recently, your showing up, your feedback, your formation, and your support encourage us, literally ‘putting courage in us,’ and we’re going to need a lot of courage in 2024.
First, let’s celebrate and thank God together for what’s happened in 2023! Last year at this time, we told you how we felt that God led us in our period of corporate discernment – profoundly shaped by the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 – focusing on community, ministry, and four spaces. We called that vision “The Next Journey”—creating a ministry center in south Arlington and increasing our ministry presence in Baltimore, turning Corhaven into an actual dedicated Christian retreat center, and forming a small community of folks trying together to apply monastic wisdom in everyday life. For us, it was a fear-inspiring vision (and budget!), but we felt like it was the vision God gave us.
And, friends, God has done it! All the major elements of that vision have come into being with extraordinary provision and major progress on all fronts, and we now have a ministry center in south Arlington to incarnate integrated Christianity, to be a beacon of God’s love and Jesus’ reality in troubled times, and to simply love people spiritually and physically. When we step back and look over the last 11 months (which included my sabbatical!), we are in awe of all that God has done. Early on, while pursuing this vision, Jeff said, “I think God has paved the way for us.” Jeff was, of course, not wrong. Now we’re walking that road, with many of you. Thank you, and thank God. In our time of corporate discernment, God spoke and we heard that Voice, verified by how God has been miraculously providing.
2024 is going to be a difficult year. As I wrote here, many people in America have an unsettled feeling about what’s going on in the culture and church, a sense we’re living through a dark season that doesn’t seem likely to abate any time soon. We feel that too, and we are neither intimidated nor afraid. In fact, as Coracle has always done in hard seasons, we are leaning in further and responding with the Light who is Jesus (Jn 1.5) and letting that light shine (Mt 5.16). Jesus said he came to bring fire to the world (Lk 12.49), and we want to be his flames in dark times.
Our vision for 2024 is “The Light Shines in the Darkness”. Pour a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, click on that link or read our Magazine version and please prayerfully read it. Be inspired by it, be emboldened by it, let it light a fire in your heart, let it inflame your love for Jesus and desire, join us in it in some way wherever you are, and please would you help make it possible with your prayers and financial support?
At this year’s end, we are seeking to raise $180,000 which will enable almost two months of ministry in 2024. Your financial gift to help us reach that goal will be true help indeed.
Thank you! And inasmuch as we’ve seen God’s faithfulness and action this past year, we can only anticipate what God’s going to do now. I invite you to join me on that adventure!
On the Journey,
PS: I kid you not, last week as we were in the thick of finalizing the Vision 2024 document (thank you Jessica, Jeff, and Kristy!) and I was literally writing this letter, I got the following quote unexpectedly in a text (thanks Ken!). It encouraged me to keep moving in this direction, and I hope it inspires you too, and us together:
“The world is cold. Someone must be on fire so that people can come and put their cold hands and feet against that fire… The English word ‘zeal’ usually means intensity of action. But real zeal is standing still and letting God be a bonfire in you.” Catherine Doherty, Poustinia
Friends, let us burn.