Hope in Action - How We Serve
February 17, 2021
February - Black History Month
I See You, I Am Here—Black History Month by Jan Wilson
One of the foundational beliefs of those of us at Crossroads is that everyone is welcome in the church and for Communion because we believe the church is the home of Jesus and Communion is His table. We’re all neighbors. Jesus told us that the great commandment is to love your God with all your heart, mind and soul and to love your neighbor as yourself. To love, the first thing is to see each other, hear each other and love by learning about each other.

You may know that one of the ethnic groups and the largest nation in South Africa is the Zulu people. I was recently reminded that the Zulu greeting is sawubona, which means “I see you”, and the response, sikhona, means "I am here". The greeting reflects the African notion of ubuntu, or "I am because we are". This philosophical and moral belief system conveys the inextricable interconnection in our lives as friends, neighbors, and citizens of a country and of the world. I see you, I am here and I am because we are. Powerful thoughts and connections. With the country as divided as it is today, we need ubuntu more than ever. 
 
Think of the change in a single relationship if you said, “I see you”. The person you see can feel your respect, your love. When they respond, “I am here”, they are returning the respect by sharing their presence, their attention, being present. Acknowledging, “I am, because we are” binds you together and acknowledges your interdependence. That is a good step towards healing and recognizing all of God’s children; we’re all made in God's image.

On this journey toward healing and reconciliation, we need to continue to deepen what and who we see—we need to learn more about the people we see. And we need to be present and respectful of each person. We need to take the greetings and philosophy of seeing others, and being present, and realizing we’re all interconnected by learning about and celebrating our Black neighbors. 

With Black History Month, you can dip your toe into the learning by participating in the dozens of activities available daily throughout February, and hopefully that will build an interest and curiosity that will go into March and throughout 2021 and beyond. There is much to learn and much to celebrate---so please consider some of the opportunities for adults and students, locally, nationally and globally.  

The following are just a few of the many—look around, explore what’s available and I think you will be amazed at the fun and informative activities that can bring you closer to your neighbors. Please join me in trying to do something each day to learn about our neighbors.

If you have additional suggestions for Black History Month, email me at janw20165@gmail.com.

Black History Activities for Students and Adults

SERVE Opportunity
Since the beginning of 2021 and throughout Lent, Crossroads’ SERVE focus will continue to be on food insecurity. Collecting for the Round Hill food pantry is ongoing and very much appreciated by our neighbors in Western Loudoun County. For details on how you can help, click here.
During Lent, we will once again be providing School Break Bundles for needy families at Payne Elementary in Southeast DC and our ESL families Loudoun County. By providing the food items listed here, or donating $30.00 to School Break Bundles, you will be helping those students at risk of going without food during Spring Break. Our goal is to provide 80 Bundles. Food Items can be dropped off at Crossroads Entrance 1 anytime during the week on or before April 11th. Monetary donations should be marked School Break Bundles and can be made online or mailed to Crossroads. To find out how you can get involved, contact Kathy MacKrell at
Crossroads Kids is extending their love and assistance even further. By collecting change during Lent, they will be supporting children and families in Guatemala and Uganda. The banks for the coins can be found in the Children’s Lenten Bags. The bags can be picked up at Crossroads Entrance 1 any time. For details contact Jill Wiggins at jwiggins@crossroadsnova.org.


Before you serve, please take a moment to take a look at the Lenten Mission Reflection.
Social Justice & Advocacy
Be the Bridge Book Study- It's Not Too Late!
Crossroads’ current book study on racial reconciliation is Be the Bridge by Latasha Morrison. This 10 week study is on Tuesdays from 7:00-830pm. This study is led by Crossroads leadership and has large and small group interaction. 

During our last book study on the Color of Compromise, our eyes were opened to what we don’t know about the history of race in America and the church. Like many things in life, the more you know the more you can do. Let’s learn together how we can be bridge builders where we live and worship.  
 
The book is available here
Please register here. Contact Deborah Michel with any questions. 
Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism
The United Methodist Discipleship Ministry is providing daily prayers to help keep us centered on becoming anti-racist individuals and churches. To sign up for the daily prayers click here.
Taking Care of the Community
COVID-19 Updates
Click here for the latest information on Covid-19 in Loudoun County.
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.
Winter doesn’t mean we forget about our gardens and landscaping! Plant NOVA Natives is an excellent resource for gardeners of all skill levels. You are encouraged to check out their website for upcoming online programs. Their monthly newsletter can be found here
 
Ask the Experts - We continue our series of interactive video conferences in which you can ask landscape designers for advice on improving your native plantings. Submit your questions and photos ahead of time if you can. Register on our website.

  • Creating Outdoor Spaces that Connect Children to the Natural World
  • When: March 9, 4pm- 5pm; Expert: Nancy Striniste

Recordings of previous “Ask the Expert” events can be viewed on this YouTube playlist.
Community Resources
Salvation Army Food Distribution at Crossroads
The Salvation Army will have a truck in the Crossroads parking lot to distribute food. 

Distribution is Friday, February 19th at 11am.
 You will receive a FREE box of food that should feed a family of 4 for a week. We have 30 boxes to hand out so please come and get one.
Please contact Kathy MacKrell if you would like to reserve a box.
Loudoun County Public Schools Meal Service
Beginning Monday, February 1, 2021 delivery of meals will be limited to Mondays only with all meals (breakfast, lunch, snack and supper) for the week (Monday through Sunday) delivered on Mondays. There will not be any deliveries Tuesday through Friday.

Please visit the interactive map to identify the location to get meals.
Some food pantries and other services available in Loudoun County are:
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 81411 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