Happy holidays to you and your loved ones!
Within the din of politics, social media and attention grabbing, I am struck by how it is often the small, consistent acts of generosity and care that seem to offer the best hope for a better future. It makes me particularly grateful for the BMC community that has sometimes roared, but more often been a quietly courageous witness to a life affirming vision of justice and faith. In contemplating where we started and where we are today, it is truly amazing. We are here because brave people came out, parents offered support, allies raised their voices and people took risks both great and small that made a difference.
It has been a productive year for BMC. The Supportive Communities Network (SCN) grew by 6% to 121 communities. Naomi Gross, our volunteer Kaleidoscope Coordinator, provided vital support for the local Poor People’s Campaign, offered trainings and met with students and administrators at Goshen College and Canadian Mennonite University, and provided a positive BMC presence at the Church of the Brethren National Youth Conference in Colorado. We sponsored a very meaningful SCN pastor’s retreat at Laurelville Mennonite Center, provided leadership at the Connecting Families East retreat, presented before the Church of the Brethren national board, and was active at the COB Annual Conference. In addition, we continued to provide hours of counsel for congregations in welcoming processes, encouragement for individuals coming out, and numerous referrals and resources for individuals, families and congregations.
As we move into a new year, I find myself tentatively optimistic. We live in challenging, even deeply disturbing times. Yet the uncertainty and harshness has reminded us of our mutual need for one another, particularly as marginalized people. It has prompted us to build bridges and traverse barriers intentionally constructed to divide us. In the process, we seem to be dealing more gently with one another as we engage in our mutual struggles. This emerging sense of solidarity feels tremendously encouraging even as we have much to learn about differing needs, practices, cultures and experiences.
I am thankful for the BMC board, volunteers, donors, allies, and everyone who has captured this vision of a kinder and more humane world. In this season of expectation, I wish you peace and a sense of unsettledness that promises more to come. Thank you for your contributions and support that enable us to keep trying another day, and sometimes even to roar!