Published by Ericson Frank on 15 Dec 2014

Supporting Matt Powlen, incoming Executive Director

From Ericson Frank:  Dear friends and partners,

I am grateful to have served as Executive Director for the last ten years, and as this year comes to a close I will be passing the torch to CCC’s next leader.  Matt and his wife, Emily, are members of Grace United Methodist church in Gainesville, FL.  Matt has been a dependable leader with CCC over the last two years. As of January 2015, Matt Powlen will begin as CCC’s Executive Director.

I ask for your support of Matt and the ministry of CCC.  As a tangible expression of my support of Matt’s leadership of CCC going forward, my wife Jennifer and I are currently making a gift of $500.  Would you join me before the end of the year and make a special gift to CCC to welcome Matt and support CCC’s mission?  Can you match our $500 gift?  Maybe you are able to make a substantial gift of $5,000.  Perhaps you can generously offer $50.  I pray for God’s continued provision for this ministry.  I thank each and every one of you who have supported CCC and myself over the years.  I look forward to continuing friendships with you.

Peace and grace to us all,

Ericson

From Matt Powlen:  Dear brothers and sisters,

It is truly an honor and a privilege to embark on a journey as the new Executive Director of CCC in Alachua County.  For over twenty-five years the ministry of CCC has been blessed beyond measure.  The support from our neighbors through their prayers, donated household goods, financial assistance, and the willing hands and feet of thousands of volunteers has indeed brought the love and light that Jesus brings to many in need.  Thank you.

Over the last ten years, the ministry has experienced a special blessing with the guidance and leadership of Ericson Frank.  CCC has continued to expand on a responsible and sustainable path.  It is my intent to continue the mission of the ministry and enhance the existing attributes so that a CCC model can be successfully duplicated in other communities. It is a bold goal, but I believe our dreams need to be too big for us to accomplish in our own strength. This way, it is rightfully God who is glorified when our goals are realized.

CCC’s mission is two-fold:  Assistance with the provision of home accessibility / minor repairs and household goods/ appliances.  We are the ‘boots on the ground,’ so to speak.  We work primarily with our neighbors in a crisis, or seniors, or neighbors with disabilities. The recipients and their close friends and neighbors are invited to assist in meeting their need.  Direct contact at their home creates opportunities for lasting impressions through one-to-one encounters.  This is what I believe makes CCC’s mission intimate, but also proactive.  From my experience, an intentional ministry establishes deep connections.

What do we really hope to do?  Make ourselves available to share the love of God with our neighbors.  Listen to them and respect their situations.  Foster ownership in community by inviting the neighbor to act as a catalyst for others nearby.  More than renewing pride, our hope is to restore our neighbors’ dignity, self-worth, and personal responsibility.

How do we hope to do this?  All who have chosen to follow Christ must make preparations to be about the business of the Father:  proclaiming the good news and making disciples.  Encountering the least, the last, the lost, the lonely, the undesirable, and the disenfranchised.  If we realize we are beyond the presence of our neighbors on a regular basis, then something in our heart and our thinking needs to change.  By the grace of God, I came to this realization.

One thing that should be mentioned in this letter is a brief background.  Although I have ample construction experience, my actual ‘tent making’ profession is portfolio management and financial planning.  The focus is primarily in post or near retirement; which includes, but is not limited to, charitable giving and estate /trust funding.  I will continue in this capacity similar to the way it has been the past fifteen years, but there will be many new applications.  I hope this knowledge and experience will be utilized in exciting ways for the expansion of CCC’s ministry.

In closing, my prayer is that we continue to receive blessings of wisdom, strength, and a spirit of discernment from God. May we strive to fulfill His purpose for our lives.  May He use us as He sees fit so His light will shine in the darkness.  May we always acknowledge every good and perfect thing the Father provides and may God be praised and glorified for all He has done and all He will do—both now and forever.  Amen.

Your brother in Christ,

Matt

Published by Ericson Frank on 24 Nov 2014

Gratitude and “Passing the Torch”

At CCC, I am thankful for the chance to work with such service-minded men and women in the body of Christ. I celebrate all the wonderful opportunities and Kingdom moments we’ve experienced along the way over the last ten years. God’s love has been shared with our neighbors, and I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished together. I am also quick to thank God for his grace and his hand on this ministry–for it is surely He who has blessed our efforts.

I am grateful to have served as Executive Director for the last ten years, and as this year comes to a close, I will be passing the torch to CCC’s next leader. After much prayer, discussion, and interviewing, CCC’s board of directors is excited to announce that Matt Powlen will begin as Executive Director in January 2015. As of January, I will begin full-time as a production manager and audio engineer with Bunt Backline Event Services out of Gainesville, Florida. I’m looking forward to using my gifts and talents in additional arenas. I will continue to have opportunities to enjoy serving churches, and I will also have new opportunities to serve musicians, performers, and patrons at events needing audio/visual production in the state of Florida.

Visit www.buntbackline.com or contact me if you would like to know more about my future endeavors.

Matt Powlen and his wife, Emily, are members of Grace United Methodist church in Gainesville, FL. He serves with the outreach and disaster response ministries at Grace Methodist. Matt has been an active leader with CCC over the last two years as a volunteer team coordinator and work site supervisor. Matt has a passion for servant leadership, a calling to equip the Church to help people, and his theological background contributes to his insight to be able to work with people from various church backgrounds, cultures, and life experiences. Matt has an extensive construction knowledge-base and a great sense of humor as well!  I’ve enjoyed getting to know Matt, I’ve enjoyed working with him on the project sites, and I’ve been able to depend on his leadership. I encourage you to lend Matt your friendship and support, and join CCC’s board in anticipating what God will do next as we love our neighbors and develop our community together.

God’s grace working through people has always been the fuel that has propelled this organization. This organization is simply God’s people loving our neighbors in the name of Jesus, contributing to our community flourishing. CCC’s mission will continue to be, “Expressing the love of God by equipping the Church to help people.”  I look forward to what Christian community development looks like with CCC as well as in our own lives as individuals with our families, neighbors, and our beloved community.

May the peace and grace of God be with us all,

Ericson

Published by Ericson Frank on 26 Aug 2014

“A Fantastic Evening”

FHF invite 2014

Published by Ericson Frank on 13 Mar 2014

April: “5 Days, 5 Ramps”

Email: ericson@cccgainesville.org asap to sign up yourself to join a team to build a ramp in April.  April is “5 Days, 5 Ramps” where CCC will be building a ramp each of the four Saturdays and one other day.  The REMAINING AVAILABLE DATES (for groups) are Saturdays, April: 5 & 26, OR you could sign a group up on any other day in April that worked for your group.  (Individuals could sign up on any Saturday and join a group.)

5 Days, 5 Ramps logo

Published by Ericson Frank on 24 Feb 2014

Satchel’s Pizza in Gainesville, FL develops our community!

CCC is glad to recognize Satchel’s Pizza in Gainesville, FL for awarding CCC a Satchel’s Capital Grant of over $6,000. CCC has budgeted these funds to build wheelchair ramps for neighbors who can’t afford them. This grant will also sponsor one of the homes for CCC’s Fantastic Home Facelift project in the fall where we’ll equip neighbors to paint, garden, and repair 6 homes for elders and persons with disabilities. Your ATM fees from eating at Satchel’s are going to develop our community! See you all at Satchel’s!satchel's pizza

Published by Ericson Frank on 15 Nov 2013

Fall Newsletter: Fantastic Home Facelift article!

Click each image to view them in a new window to be able to read the brief articles on both pages! drag the two windows next to one another to read them side by side :) 0001zp 0002xk

Published by Ericson Frank on 01 Aug 2013

You are invited to join CCC for…”A Fantastic Evening”!

FHF 2013_option2 invite

Published by Ericson Frank on 10 Jul 2013

Summer Newsletter: “Grace in real life” & “Is this all there is?”

(click each image to enlarge and read page one or page two. zoom in as you need to!)

2013 Summer Newsletter pg1 2013 Summer Newsletter pg2

Published by Ericson Frank on 01 Jul 2013

“Grace in Real Life” by Ericson Frank

I went to the ER in June with a 103-degree fever two days running.  It was the same fever I had contracted when I ate some food in my travels to Bolivia a month earlier.  I had visited Bolivia for one week to work with our good friends who live, work, and serve at their local church. I enjoyed my friends, and I worked along side my buddy and his neighbors and church members to develop their community together while I was there.  Bolivia is a developing country. It’s the most impoverished Latin American country from years of warring nations stealing their resources, blocking them from trade on the coast, and regime after regime of extreme corruption oppressing their own people for personal gain.  I entered into that poverty for one week and got the sickest I’ve been in my life from eating salad.  It was no unexplained mystery or “boogie man”.  Bacteria got in my blood and made me so sick I was delusional. I was seeing star bands across my field of vision, hurt all over, and was extremely dehydrated to the point that I would have died without medical attention of some sort.  I needed an I.V. and some antibiotics to kill the malevolent bacteria. I also experienced the grace of God during this low point.

Most people want to experience grace, or unmerited favor from someone they’re connected to: friends, family, a mentor, a higher power of some sort, or, in my case, I’ll refer to God. People want to do well.  People want to have nice things. And people want meaningful relationships of varying degrees.  At the root of relationships, I believe people want to feel loved and know they are favored. I believe people can experience God’s unmerited love and favor at all points in life.  In times of celebration, challenge, and even suffering.

Some people know the grace of God.  They have experienced it.  Grace in real life.  Some people have endured so much in their life that they know they couldn’t have made it day by day without the grace of God.  Some people depend on God’s grace to make it through today, and will need it to make it through tomorrow.  Others have had a pretty good life and perhaps have less of a need of grace.  I wish a good life for us all, but if we have all we need, have no trials to speak of, and have no loss or suffering, then we may have little felt-need for grace.  I often feel like I have a pretty good life and don’t have a lot to complain about. I might even be so bold (or honest) to say I don’t always feel my need for grace.  If I have a good day, maybe I didn’t feel I needed God’s grace to make it through.  I wager many of my friends, neighbors and countrymen have pretty good lives overall compared to many others in our world.  I wonder how much we all feel the need for God’s grace in our lives?  Absolutely, there are story after story of how we have endured trials, challenges, and problems.  Assuredly, we can share stories of hardship, loss, and suffering.  I do sense a feeling that many of us wish and pray to never go through these things so we can continue on in our good life that works out all the time.

So what do we do when we experience real life challenges and suffering?  We can experience grace in the midst of suffering. Psalms is the great book of hymns and prayers written by King David of old as well as his seers and priests.  Psalm 119 is the longest poetic prayer-hymn with many stanzas and a total of 176 verses!  This psalm contains a familiar and encouraging verse: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path (v.105).”  The psalmist only recites these words after proclaiming this: “Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.  It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your good news. The word from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.  I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.  May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your ways are my delight (vs. 49,50,71,72,75-77).”  Obviously, the psalmist is talking about more than the verses I’ve selected, but I’m looking at a certain element of this prayer. Whoever is praying these prayers to God is thanking God for suffering!  They’re saying it was good to be afflicted, but moreover God was faithful through the affliction.

This is astounding to me, but I recently heard a similar authentic prayer from a man in Bolivia.  He started his prayer by thanking God for his family and church and God’s provision in his life (which was pretty meager compared to an American standard of living). Then he prayed something like this: ”Heavenly Father, thank you for times of trial and suffering in our lives.  It is these times when we know we need you most.  It is these times that we experience your grace and goodness so that we may be drawn closer to you.  We experience your grace through your living words in the Bible, through your words of life spoken by our pastor, and through the encouragement and fellowship of our brothers and sisters in our church.” I wept as he prayed this authentic, grateful prayer.  I’ve never heard anyone thank God for suffering like this man had. I knew of some of his suffering. He almost died of a severe illness the year before!  He had truly experienced the love and grace of his heavenly Father. He was thankful for the awful experiences that lead to that point because of the richness of God’s grace he experienced, and because he felt like he got to know God in a more intimate and real way.  What a testimony to share!

I hope more of us continue to experience the goodness of God and receive his grace.  I hope more of us might learn that trials, hardships, and suffering can actually be an opportunity to receive God’s grace ourselves, and may present an opportunity to reflect the quality and character of God to others enduring such circumstances. Our mission at CCC continues to be, “Expressing the love of God by equipping the Church to help people.”  My prayer is that our neighbors experience a concrete expression of grace each time we are together.  For those of us enduring suffering, hear the words of the psalmist once more, and may we pray this together for one another: ”Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to your promise. Great peace have they who love your ways, and nothing can make them stumble. I wait for your salvation, O LORD (vs.154 & 165).”

Published by Nick Dunn on 25 Feb 2013

Stay Engaged with Your Community! Now With Audio!

engagepostcards2013_2rev-1up

***Updated***

Engage audio now available for streaming here and for itunes download here.

Engage 2013 was amazing! Over 60 of us packed into the Christian Study Center classroom to discuss justice as it relates to developing our community together.

In the first session, Peter Wohler of the Source in Minneapolis laid a groundwork for talking about themes of biblical justice playing out in the lives of homeless, marginalized, and even trafficked youth. Vickie Machado of the Gainesville Catholic Worker described how a ministry rooted in the things and rhythms of an intentional community house can be the place where far-ranging ideals of economic, social, ecological, and theological justice are realized.

In the second session, Peter got really practical. He discussed the Source Annex model of transitional housing for trafficking victims, and cast a vision for churches everywhere to have similar small, incubator communities for helping these women grow into a new life in freedom. Finally, Alison Ungaro shared the inspiring story of Created, a ministry to street-involved women right here in Gainesville. Keep in touch through twitter or subscribe to her email list.

We hope you stay engaged with the work these great brothers and sisters are doing!

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