To the Congregants and Friends of FBC—
Can you believe we are already into the month of August? With this new month I am going to stop saying, “These are challenging times.” I have now moved towards, “Jesus, continue to use me in spite of.” I am ready to move forward in God’s ministry through me in a more positive manner…what about God’s ministry through “you?
Attached to my note is an invitation from The Reverend Jennifer Gregg, Priest of the “Cathedral of the Beloved.” (See below.) This ministry has been going on for the past several years, and many of you have witnessed the Sunday meals on the lawn at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Well Rev. Gregg has been the organizer of this endeavor. She is now making another request to community churches on behalf of a pending endeavor. This request is about the implementation of a homeless shelter at First Methodist Church on Fenn Street. Please read the letter she has sent, and pray about this endeavor. If you are willing to participate and feel so moved by God, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I informed Rev. Gregg that I would forward this information to you, but that it was up to the individual congregant whether or not to support and participate.
I hope you continue to watch FBC during our virtual Sunday morning worship. Invite your family and friends to a “watch party” of the FBC Sunday worships. On this past Sunday, as of today, the worship had 340 views across Facebook and YouTube. One day we will get a more inclusive count with PCTV’s views. Remember, invite family and friends to view the worship with you, and then discuss afterwards your thoughts and perspectives.
We look forward to our time together this coming Sunday, August 9th at 10am on PCTV – 1301. If you live in South County, it is broadcast at 9am on channel 1301 CTSB (Community Television for Southern Berkshires). And there’s always the FBC Facebook Live Stream (First Baptist Church of Pittsfield, MA)!
We are inviting you to work with us and members of First Methodist (FUMC) to make sure the homeless shelter at First Methodist on Fenn Street becomes a reality.
As some of you already know, this work is already well underway and Downtown Pittsfield Inc. (DPI) and the downtown business owners are working to bring it to a halt. As one member said during the Development Review Board hearing last week (and I paraphrase), “it’s not about wanting it in my backyard, I don’t even want it in my front yard.”
Prayer and Faith Response:
People of faith communities have always made provisions for the most vulnerable among us. With this in mind, we have a responsibility to act. God continually asks of us, “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?” And we respond, “I will, with God’s help.”
It is time to pray with our hearts, our hands and our feet. Prayer and raised voices, with God’s help bring aid to the most vulnerable and make God’s love known.
Here is how to mobilize.
We would like 10 people from your community to make three calls each for a total of 30 phone calls on your assigned day. The three calls would be to: Downtown Pittsfield, Inc., Senator Adam Hinds and Mayor Linda Tyer. At the end of each week, this would amount to each entity receiving at least 150+ phone calls. We want to keep the pressure on. The Development Review Board for the City is scheduled to meet again to vote on this project August 18th.
In addition to the phone calls, we are asking a letter from every vestry/council be sent to the Development Review Board (DRB) to express your support for the homeless shelter. The address and phone numbers needed for this action are in the enclosed documents.
To aid in this process we have also created a potential call in script, background information on the overall project and contact information. We are grateful to The Rev. Ralph Howe who provided the shelter background and background on ServiceNet.
As a best organizing practice, we invite you to consider having a point person in your community to help organize those who will be making the phone calls. Below is a proposed schedule. The most important piece is for phone calls to be made every day. I realize I have not been in touch with all of you about your participation, if these days don’t work for you, please be in touch. The proposed schedule is:
Monday, August 3rd: Zion Lutheran and First Baptist
Tuesday, August 4th: South Congregational and Knesset Israel
Wednesday, August 5th: Cathedral of the Beloved, First Congregational, Unitarian Universalist Pittsfield
Thursday, August 6th: St. Stephen’s and Anshe Amunim
Friday, August 7th: First Methodist
Monday, August 10th: St. Stephen’s and Knesset Israel
Tuesday, August 11th: Zion Lutheran and First Baptist
Wednesday, August 12th: South Congregational and First Congregational
Thursday, August 13th: First Baptist and Anshe Amunim
Friday, August 14th: Cathedral of the Beloved, First Methodist, Unitarian Universalist Pittsfield
Monday, August 17th: Everyone
Tuesday, August 18th: Everyone
Please let us know if you have any questions.
On behalf of Cathedral of the Beloved’s board, staff, and those we serve, thank you.
The Rev. Jennifer Gregg, Priest
Cathedral of the Beloved