My journey at CBF of Mississippi began only about three and a half months ago when I came on as an intern for Together for Hope and CBF MS. Throughout these past few months the people and purpose of CBF MS have become very dear to me. I am an undergrad student at Mississippi College studying Social Work and originally came on to do community development work with Together for Hope, but I have learned and experienced so much more. One of the things that I really value about CBF of Mississippi is how the four public witness pillars of racial discourse and dialogue, poverty relief and development, interfaith and ecumenism, and gender equality are truly upheld in word and deed. In my short time at CBF MS, I have seen each of these be a priority to the people and churches of CBF MS.
I am so excited about the work that Together for Hope is doing and really would not be able to do in full without the help of CBF members. Whether you are a potential partner, practitioner, or just a church member who is on board with TFH’s mission and purpose, we need you to reach the poorest people in our state. Just for some background information, Together for Hope is a rural development coalition that is committed to the 301 counties of persistent rural poverty in our country. Mississippi contains 42 of those counties. FORTY TWO! That means that about 14% of the nations most impoverished people are right outside of our doorstep. Together for Hope believes that each person was made in the image of their creator and therefore has inherent dignity and worth. That being said, the community development practices that we implement must reflect the fact that we fully believe in the dignity of all people. Together for Hope abides by the asset-based community development model, which focuses on the strengths, assets, and resources of each community and then aids the community in leveraging those for sustainable development. Together for Hope truly believes that the people of the community have the answers and they have the potential for change within them. They just need to be given permission to see, celebrate, and move toward action. The work that Together for Hope is doing is extremely important. As the name expresses, more than anything, TFH desires to unveil hope in communities where hope is a rarity. However, the work of community development is slow and takes patience, persistence, always being fueled by hope. CBF of MS, we covet your prayers and support as we engage in this work. Be praying for the leaders of Together for Hope, the practitioners, our current and future partners, leaders in communities, and the people of the communities, that all would be led in wisdom, truth, and grace as we seek His Kingdom come and will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Because I do work primarily with Together for Hope, a lot of my work has looked like involving the people of CBF MS in the work that TFH is doing across the state. In the past month I have seen people rise up in numerous ways. We were able to pack 30 buckets with cleaning supplies that will be distributed to 30 different families that were affected by the floods in the Delta. In addition, CBF MS churches raised both cash funds and collected supplies for families who lost everything that they had in an apartment fire. These families were able to go “shop” for items in a space that was set up in store-like fashion, thus extending dignity to numerous families. Two more events are in the works for the coming month. At the end of this month, CBF of MS is sponsoring a Racial Discourse and Dialogue at the Mississippi Civil Right Museum (more information on cbfms.org and on our Facebook page). Lastly, the missions team is planning a work day to serve a partner church in Jackson that needs some serious repairs to their building. Just in this month alone, CBF MS has been involved in poverty relief, interfaith work, racial discourse and dialogue, and is still upholding its commitment to gender equality as men and women work equally alongside each other in roles of leadership and service.
Wonderful things are happening at CBF of Mississippi and Together for Hope and I am so thankful to have been a part of it!