We’re just in the dawning stages of this digital-first community of folx who are exploring life, spirituality, and the ways of Jesus together, but as we’re sifting away at the sands to uncover what we’re being called toward, there are a few things already being discerned.
Every community needs to decide what they’re going to be “about” (in the prepositional sense that your High School English teacher hammered home). What a community is “about” is what they’re gathered around. And not a defensive gathering, mind you, but rather as you might gather around a table to feast and gain strength from what you find there.
We’ve identified some core values already, and more are being sifted out, but we’re also identifying some core practices that we think will shape us, and shape others.
One of those core practices that we will be adopting is that we’ll be what we’re calling a “50/50 Community.” The morning of the Autumnal Equinox feels like an appropriate moment to do some reflecting on this core practice…
To us this means that, whatever monetary gifts we receive in support of this digital-first work will be split 50/50 between supporting the work, and blessing something else in the world. For instance, we might decide in Pride month to support The Trevor Project, or in a moment of crisis, like this exodus from Afghanistan, we might decide to support Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services. Deciding on which organizations to support will be both a leadership and community conversation, but there will certainly be filtering discernment questions, like:
-Is the organization inclusive and non-discriminatory?
-Does the organization trust the best available science in its work?
-Does the organization further beauty and hope in the world?
We know that we are in an extreme place of privilege to be able to do this kind of support-splitting, and we need to own that up front. Anam Cara is organized and led by folx who have other jobs that help pay most of our personal debts, and we’re designing this ministry (at least, at the moment) to be a bi-vocational calling. Most faith communities can’t be 50/50 communities in terms of support because, well, let’s be real honest here: I think most professional church workers are seriously underpaid already. Health insurance, a livable wage, decent retirement benefits, not to mention property expenses for brick-and-mortar churches…it adds up.
As well it should, Beloved.
And even with all those expenses, most faith communities give a significant portion of their offerings away every year. It truly is amazing when you see the kinds of generosity that happen there.
But because our community is a bit different, we’re blessed to be able to be a bit different.
Anam Cara is going to be about being a 50/50 Community, and from this orientation we’ll gain strength, offer hope, and be great stewards of generosity in the world.
Stay tuned for more…