Hope in Action- How We Serve
September 9, 2020
Monthly SERVE Focus – Voting
September’s SERVE focus will be on Voting. As United States citizens, we are coming upon a very significant Election season. The right to vote is the foundation of any democracy. The United Methodist Social Principals state that “the strength of a political system depends on the full and willing participation of its citizens” (¶ 164B).   
During this month we will explore why it is important to vote and how you can serve not only by voting but by taking part in the political process.  

Jan Wilson's article below describes ways for adults and youth to serve. The most important of which is registering to vote. Crossroads will be having a ZOOM Voter Registration Session after worship on Sunday, September 13th and September 20th. Jan will be available during these sessions to answer any questions regarding voting and will walk you through the process of registering.   

Before you serve with action, begin by going through the reflection questions that can be found here. We go inward to reflect and then we go outward to serve.

Recommended Resources This Week:
Website - Building the Political Process for Young People –  Rock the Vote
Additional Resources:
Social Justice & Advocacy
Your Voice in Democracy--Vote and Register Others by Jan Wilson
Help Your Neighbor to Vote—We’re In This Together
Over the last several weeks, I’ve written articles about how each of us can exercise our sacred duty to vote. The United Methodist Church affirms the right to vote for all adult citizens as a basic human right. A basic human right—think about that. According to our Social Principles: “We hold governments responsible for the protection of the rights of the people to free and fair elections…The form and the leaders of all governments should be determined by exercise of the right to vote guaranteed to all adult citizens.” (2016 Book of Discipline, Paragraph 164a “Basic Freedoms and Human Rights.”). 

During these last weeks and months, I’ve also written about who are neighbors are, and how we fulfill the command Jesus says was the most important: to love God and to love our neighbors. We do that with action. As we heard sung in church this week, “We’re together in this”. The song poignantly points out that we’re all going through unprecedented troubles, but we’re in them together, and together we can and will get through them. So, in this article we’re going to help you serve your neighbors by ensuring they can exercise the basic human right of voting. There is much you can do; it’s amazingly simple and so rewarding! 

Check your Registration or Register. By now, I hope that you have checked your voter registration and know that you are registered and/or you have registered yourself and all adult citizens in your family. If not, please click on this link to register, change your address, or check your registration. We want to be sure everyone can exercise this basic human right. Absentee and in-person early voting starts in just over one week, so it’s not too soon. After the 10 AM service at Crossroads this coming Sunday, we’ll have a Zoom session for anyone wanting help to get registered.

Serve by Helping Neighbors So, how can we help our neighbors exercise this sacred right that our UMC calls a basic human right? There are a few things you can do that are fun, easy, won’t take much time, can be done with your teenage children, and are so fulfilling. 

  • Register Others to Vote First, you can help others get registered. Remember that in VA you do not register as a member of any political party—this is completely non-partisan. There are many groups that are registering people to vote, but we’ll also help you this Sunday, after the service as I mentioned above. Also, if you would like to help people register, you can take the online training in only 26 minutes. With the training you can then request voter registration applications, help folks register and return the applications to the Virginia Department of Elections. It’s simple and so rewarding to know that you are giving another citizen the opportunity to have their voice heard through voting; helping them exercise a basic human right! Here is the link to the training. Please join us in helping our neighbors with this simple act. Let’s be sure that everyone in the congregation and everyone in their neighborhoods are registered.     

  • Be an Election Official. The second way you can help your neighbors is by being an Election Official which helps your neighbors vote at the polls on November 3, 2020. Yes, you can be an Official! Because of Covid19 and the fact that many of the individuals who have been Election Officials for years are retirees, the Department of Elections is looking for many additional people to sign up. The need this year is greater than ever before. You will take training and sign up for a time to serve during election day. Since election day is a state holiday in VA, you might have the day off anyway, so why not volunteer to help if you can? You can get all the details on being VA Election Official here. If you have friends or family out of state who are interested, you can check this link for every state’s requirements for being an Election Official. And as an Election Official you will be paid! Even better, there are opportunities for your teenagers to help as well.

  • Teens—Be a Page and Get Volunteer Credits. I think this is really cool. Teenagers can volunteer to be a page, assisting the Election Officials on Election Day. While teens will not be paid, there are plenty of perks that are better than pay. As an official Page, you will get a t-shirt, a Certificate of Appreciation and letter from the Registrar of Elections, and credits for volunteering. Since there are limited opportunities to get those credits because of Covid19, this is a great perk…along with the t-shirt, letter, and Certificate, of course. And you’ll have a front row seat, witnessing how democracy works. It’s a great opportunity! 

It's often said that Thomas Jefferson wrote that "the price of liberty is eternal vigilance". We must remain vigilant. And I can think of no time in our history that that's more apropos than during elections. Let’s let our voices be heard by voting, but let’s also be sure that our neighbors get their voices heard by helping them exercise the basic human right of voting!  
Taking Care of the Community
Wearing Masks - A Social Justice Issue
As we have said many times before, taking care of our neighbor is the most important thing we can do as Christians. Right now, one of the easiest ways we can do that is by wearing a mask. It is simple. According to the CDC wearing a mask and social distancing are our best defenses against contracting and spreading Covid-19.  

To me wearing a mask says, “I see you, you are important to me and we are in this together”.  
A limited number of masks are available for pick up at Crossroads. Please email Kathy MacKrell and we will get a mask to you for free or a small donation for those who are able. Masks are also available outside Crossroads’ Entrance 1, weekdays from 10:30am-1:30pm. 
Crossroads Native Plant Garden
Each week we are featuring a native plant in bloom in our native garden. The garden is flourishing and contains many pollinator plants that provide vital nutrients that keep insects alive and sustain them throughout the year. They also provide a safe habitat that is free from chemicals to help support the pollinator populations. If you live in the area, you are encouraged to check it out on your next nature walk or drive by. Click here for more information on native plants for Northern Virginia. You can also contact Crossroads' Native Plant Specialist, BJ Lecrone. Native plants can be purchased online at Watermark Nursery in Hamilton, Virginia.

For information on planting a vegetable garden and why pollinator gardens are important check out the following links:

Featured plant for this week

Community Resources
Loudoun County Public Schools Back to School Meal Service
  • Walk Up Meal Service - 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
  • Daily Bus Delivery of Breakfast and Lunch Meals throughout Loudoun County
  • 2 Runs: 11:30 am – 12:30 pm and 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
  • For delivery: Please visit the interactive map to identify the nearest bus stop and associated time for mobile service.
  • Daily breakfast and lunch meal service under the Summer Food Service Program at 93 sites
  • Children and teens aged 18 and younger eat FREE of charge
  • Breakfast & lunch meals distributed simultaneously at both walk up sites and bus stops
  • Parent meal pick up available
  • Meal service available for childcare participants and students in attendance
Loudoun County resources are available for anyone in need of food. 
Please take advantage of the following organizations:
Loudoun County Health & Human Services has provided a comprehensive list of resources available to those in need. The link is here.

Contact the Loudoun County Information and Referral (I&R) program to get connected to vital health and human services information and resources in Loudoun County. The link is here.

Some vital resources are highlighted below.
COVID-19 Limited Rent Assistance
Loudoun County government has established a limited rent assistance program for Loudoun County households economically impacted by COVID-19. Check this link for details.

Loudoun Cares
Through their Information & Referral Helpline, Loudoun Cares connects residents in need with local nonprofits and agencies that can assist with a variety of health and human services that include rent/utility assistance, food, clothing, medical/dental, housing, job services and more. If you are in need of assistance, call the helpline at 703-669-4636 or click here for their website.

Unemployment and Employment Resources
Loudoun Workforce Resource Center provides information about unemployment benefits or other work-related topics. Click here for their website.

Crossroads Jobs is a non profit experienced in advising candidates who have challenges in securing employment. Counseling is available in English and Spanish. They will also assist those who need help filing for unemployment. All services are free. Click here for their website. 
Additional resources:
  • Sunday message: Watch here or on the GOTGo app
  • GOTGo App - Download from your app store by searching Crossroads GOTGo
  • Daily Texts - Text crossroads to 41411 to receive inspirational texts each day 
  • Daily Scripture, Prayer and Morning Focus - Sign up here
  • Online giving: Sign up or submit giving here
  • Spiritual Practices: Find them here
  • Prayer Requests: Submit them here
  • Imagine Well Being - Find online groups here
  • Small Groups: Find online groups here
  • Facebook - facebook.com/crossroadsnova
  • Instagram - instagram.com/crossroadsnova
  • Website - crossroadsnova.org