My name is Martha Brannon, Founder and Executive Director of His House Foundation (HHF), a 501(c )(3) organization that provides direct services to families in need and acts as a catalyst for increased sharing within our community. HHF has a focus on assisting families that are homeless or recently homeless, and people experiencing crisis. We are proud of our commitment to do all this without boundaries, limits, or service areas. We serve based on dignity and need.
The His House Foundation team believe food and shelter are considered core essentials for human life and should be accessible without barriers.
We are writing to thank everyone for supporting our organization in 2020 and assisting in our response to the crisis of Covid-19. HHF immediately responded to emergency requests of food and basic needs. We expanded our Abundance Food Share for the Carver County hotel program serving local homeless.
ABUNDANCE FOOD SHARE
Abundance is collecting and redistributing approximately 10,000 pounds of food each month in partnership with Carver County Environmental Services and their program of diverting food from the waste stream. Some of our food partners are Buddy Boy’s Barbecue, Little Caesars Pizza, Star Bucks, KFC and Chick-Fil-A. We also pick-up perishables from several food shelves and deliver those items immediately to the hotels with homeless programs and people in crisis. The Abundance team delivers food and basic needs daily to all 4 hotels that participate in the county homeless program, and several other hotels where people are living after being excluded from traditional rental options.
CARES AND CHAP RENTAL ASSISTANCE
His House coordinated 8 workshops for the government emergency rental assistance programs due to COVID-19: CARES and CHAP funding. We partnered with Mt Calvary Lutheran Church, Excelsior United Methodist, and the West Interfaith Community Engagement team. The workshops focused on removing barriers such as technology, language and qualifications. Our process resulted in over $100,000 in emergency back rent paid out to landlords.
Each month the wonderful His House volunteers assist approximately 8 households move out of homelessness and into sustainable housing. This transition includes new pillows, bedding, towels, dishes, pot and pans, detergent and dish soap. We also have taken on the need in a coordinated effort of delivering mattresses for all family members. This can be as many as 6 mattresses in a household. Collecting and moving used mattresses so people will have a bed to sleep in their first night in their new home. We estimate 288 mattresses have been collected and redistributed in 2020.
COMMUNITY RESOURCE CENTER
The Community Resource Center is in the basement of the Chaska Moravian Church with access on Walnut St. We serve families in crisis with basic needs including clothing, winter gear, personal care products, and food. Every day people request access or see the door open and stop by. We made modifications during the COVID-19 crisis by following CDC guidelines and limiting the number of visitors. Even though the Resource Center is open by appointment only, we served over 2,000 clients in 2020.
EMERGENCY HOUSING FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
His House Foundation provided emergency housing financial assistance of $9,275 to people that were homeless or near homeless and did not qualify for other programs. Most of the funding was requested for people excluded from any housing options, literally homeless because of behaviors that put their housing at risk, or hotel stays for people waiting to enter the county’s homeless programs. Approximately 7% was used for prevention.
We are ready for 2021! His House and our food share program Abundance is committed to increasing food access and basic needs to people that have barriers accessing these in traditional ways. As more people slip into financial crisis, we are ready to address basic needs in a cohesive flow without barriers put in place that can allow personal judgements and stereotypes to interrupt that flow. The state of MN approved HHF to provide services and case management to clients with greater barriers to stable housing. We believe food is a metaphor for need and are committed to making food and necessities more accessible to all.
Martha Brannon, Executive Director, His House Foundation
Time to Sign up for Sunday School and Confirmation!
Registration for Online Sunday School is still open. Please register today. Our online Sunday School this year will consist of drive-by events, printable activities to do at home, Bible story videos and some animated videos. Supply pick up for the lessons is always available, just reach out to Ketti.Spehar@mountcalvary.org anytime and I will have everything you need for your child’s lesson.
Registration for Online Confirmation is now open as well. If your child is entering 6th Grade sign up!
For the past five months, we have all been adapting to the changes necessitated by COVID-19. From the beginning, we have looked to the counsel of the CDC and epidemiologists and to direction from the State of Minnesota and local schools when making decisions about when and how to open our facility safely. The health and well-being of members, guests, teachers and students are our primary concern. That has not changed and as a result we have made the decision to postpone worship in the sanctuary until after Christmas 2020. If and when changes offer us new insights, we will keep you informed. So, briefly, here is what you need to know:
- Worship will continue online each weekend. Our Studio M has some great new offerings coming your way this fall!
- Our Outdoor Summer Worship worked so well that we’re continuing on into fall. Outdoor Worship will be offered on Sunday mornings beginning September 20 at 10:30am.
- We are excited about our new fall programming! Sunday School, Confirmation, Crosspaths, Adult Bible Studies, The Vine, and more will be bringing Mount Calvary into your homes via the world wide web.
- The church office will be open Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm. Come on by! Just keep in mind that whenever entering the building, face masks will be required.
- We invite you to reach out for pastoral care needs by emailing one of the pastors or Pat Kamerud or by leaving a message on the church voicemail.
We believe that the body of Christ is called to be both a faithful presence and prophetic witness. Followers of Jesus have worshipped historically and globally under every and all circumstances, threats, wars, and even persecution. Following our rich Christian history, we are able to take any form to express our worship of Jesus Christ, from filling sanctuaries to gatherings of two or three people, and now even through the gift of technology, Jesus has promised to be among us. In this moment, our primary gatherings will be in homes and virtually. We look forward to gathering again in person, and yet, we are seeing God work in powerful ways as the Holy Spirit draws God’s people into places of service and care.
This was a difficult, but very clear-cut decision for us to make. We appreciate the complexity and unprecedented challenges and decisions our elected officials, school boards, business owners, and families are facing. We together applaud our frontline workers who carry the burden of this moment in ways few of us can imagine. We grieve with those who have lost loved ones during this season. We pray for those who have lost jobs and businesses, and all those who have suffered financially in this time. We pray for our homeless neighbors, those with food insecurity, those who are home but not safe, and all others who are dramatically and negatively affected by this moment.
While our bias will always be towards choosing face-to-face relationships and gathered worship, we will not risk compromising the safety and health of our community or neighbors. Our understanding of worship is not limited to a certain place or time and our understanding of what it means to be the Church has more to do with the many ways we are engaging the world than in our gathering in one facility at a point in time. Mount Calvary continues to share God’s unending grace, inclusivity, love, and service in, with, and through you! Thank you!
Blessings and peace,
We hope you will be as excited as we are about a new summer worship opportunity at Mount Calvary! Our online worship services will continue every weekend, but we also would love a chance to see you face to face. We are planning a series of outdoor worship services that will be held at 5pm and 7pm on six designated Wednesday nights throughout the summer. Our hope is that everyone will have the chance to attend one of the services.
Of course, we’ll be considerate of social distancing recommendations. Health and safety of parishioners, staff, and others continues to be of paramount importance. In order to maintain distancing guidelines, we’ll keep the attendance at each service limited 100 people. To coordinate this, we’ve developed a system that will allow everyone to reserve a spot at one of the services. Take a look at your calendars and pick the one date that works best for your family, then make your reservation. You will be assigned to your own, physically-distant space in the parking lot.
Each service will be a traditional Mount Calvary worship service with Liturgy, Sermon, Communion, and the singing of some of your favorite hymns. To ensure the safety of everyone in attendance, we’ll ask you to bring along your own lawn chairs (if you are able), communion supplies (crackers or bread and juice) and anything else you might need to be comfortable sitting outside. If you have any questions, please email Trina Volbrecht. We can’t wait to worship with you!
Reserve Your Spot Now
| Dear Friends, |
Like many of you, I watched heartbroken over the last week as our city has torn itself apart in response to the murder of George Floyd. As the crisis escalated, it quickly became apparent that communities in and around Minneapolis would soon be in great need of basic resources. With stores closed and transportation shut down, thousands of individuals and families have been left stranded in a food desert.
Ever present champions of social justice, our brothers and sisters of Gethsemane Lutheran were some of the first to identify need and organize aid. Amidst looting, rioting, and daily drug trafficking, they set up their grill and established a secure food distribution on the corner of W Broadway and Lyndale Ave N late last week. Pastor Jeff Nehrbass reached out to Mount Calvary asking for us to walk alongside them in this mission, to step outside our circle and into a potentially uncomfortable space most of us do not experience daily.
Often in crisis scenarios, we find ourselves without the luxury of time to ponder the perfect solution or provide a comfortable lead time to plan and execute. This was certainly true this weekend as hundreds of people lined up at Gethsemane’s distribution site. However, last Friday, through an amazing and generous response, Mount Calvary was able to provide 720 lbs of charcoal to keep Gethsemane’s grill cooking brats and burgers throughout the next several days.
Then, on Sunday and Monday as the need grew, you responded. A call for aid went out, and within hours, we filled 9 vehicles with food, supplies and volunteers (3 on Sunday and 9 on Monday). Volunteers who arrived on site Monday afternoon were immediately put to work filling boxes and distributing supplies to the long line of people.
Moving forward, we have established a sustainable system for supplies and volunteers that will hopefully bring a bit of stability to these communities.
Donations will be received at Mount Calvary Monday-Thursdays, 9:00am-4:00pm and Fridays, 9:00am-12:00pm. Click here for the list of requested items.
Every Thursday Mount Calvary will send a team of volunteers to the distribution site (Cub Foods parking lot on the corner of W Broadway and Lyndale Ave N) from 12:00pm-5:00pm to help organize and distribute donations until the local stores reopen. Interested in volunteering? Look here for more information and the volunteer sign up.
To everyone who has called, emailed, donated, shopped, delivered and prayed, THANK YOU. You are making an incredible difference. Please continue to respond as an allied voice to demand justice and equality. Change must come.
Director of Outreach and Global Vision
| PRAYER AROUND THE CROSS|
We invite you to create for yourself a peaceful, candlelit space, and to join us for our Prayer Around the Cross service. This contemplative service of evening prayer is a 30-minute liturgy, adapted from Singing our Prayer: Holden Prayer Around the Cross by Susan Briehl and Tom Witt. It includes Scripture, Jan Richardson poetry, and simple songs that bring us together for a time and place of quiet reflection.
Together, we’ll pray together for the healing of the nations and the healing of creation.
Together, we’ll embrace the darkness and take time to acknowledge tears, fears, grief, and longings.
Together we’ll embrace the quiet to invite a deeper connection with God.
We hope you’ll take this opportunity to turn off the noise, light a candle, and be with us in community as we lay our thoughts, burdens, and concerns before God, with a focus on the cross of Christ and God’s redeeming love for the world.
Interesting linksHere are some interesting links for you! Enjoy your stay :)
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