It’s all grace

We have celebrated CCC’s 25th anniversary over this past year.  2012 has been a year of remembering CCC’s founding by Lynn and Suzanne Groce.  We’ve been looking back on CCC’s service and what we have accomplished together.  And it’s been a year of asking ourselves and others how we will continue to develop our community together.

God’s gift of grace has been and always will be the beginning of the answer to that question.  God called the Groces to the mission of “expressing the love of God by equipping the Church to help people.”  They were faithful, being gifted God’s grace to accomplish this task.  It has been the daily gift of grace from God these last 9 years that has enabled me and CCC’s board members, volunteers, and supporters to accomplish our work.  God’s grace has empowered our acts of service, sacrificial offerings, and expressions of the love of God, which we have experienced ourselves, to the ‘last,’ the ‘least,’ and the ‘lost’.  God’s grace is the fuel that sustains and drives this community of people.  Everything we have accomplished, every gift we have received: all grace.  Every heart we have touched, every life we have mentored, any faith encouraged: all grace.

It is out of this gift of grace that we have relationship with God; such a relationship never stems from works. Yet Ephesians 2:10 tells us we are “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  James 1:27 says, “True religion is this: caring for widows and orphans in their time of distress.”  I resonate with the calling in Acts 6:3 talking about caring for the widows and orphans.  We feel a call and a responsibility to equip ourselves and equip others to care for our elders and neighbors in crisis.  This is how we started.  This is how we continue.

CCC’s board and staff met right at the start of 2013 to pray, read the scriptures, and to continue dreaming and planning what this community could look like–and how we might play a role.  Many of our ‘big, audacious goals’ were met in 2012:  our biggest ever ENGAGE panel discussion, “5 days, 5 ramps” completed, 4 widows had a ‘fantastic home facelift’ with over 120 volunteers serving, generous financial support, and a donated second work truck!  We planned, we worked hard, and people faithfully served, though I see it all as grace:  a free gift from our gracious Father in Heaven that is equipping people to see peace on earth.

2013’s goals include 5 homes getting a ‘facelift’ and celebrating like no other block party we’ve been involved in, and receiving and delivering more furniture, now with two trucks, to our neighbors in crisis.  We invite you to receive God’s grace to move you to come and follow us.  Together, we’ll see our beloved community loving and serving our neighbors in the name of Jesus.  We’ll see our community develop into a place where everyone can flourish.  We’ll see justice roll down.  Grace and peace. -Ericson Frank

Spotlight on Services: Furniture Transportation

FurnitureTransportationChristians Concerned for the Community commits to helping families in crisis in Alachua County with nothing or next to nothing to meet their need for basic furniture and appliances.

Most folks assume this will always mean we simply redistribute donated furniture right to their doorstep. While that’s often true, some of my favorite moving jobs go more like this:

One afternoon about 2pm, I returned a voicemail to a neighbor requesting furniture. I explained that I’d need to come by and do a home visit, and if we eventually delivered furniture there could be quite a long wait. Then I encouraged her to give us a call if she found anything on her own.

By 2:30pm, she’d found a free couch and loveseat on craigslist. 2:45 I was loading them with the donor’s help. By 3:00pm, I was watching the neighbor’s friends unload them right into her apartment.

This story captures 3 things I love about furniture transportation at CCC:

3) The neighbor saved herself a long wait by taking action immediately.

2) God appointed 3 people at two sites to help, all without my planning/strategizing/worrying.

1) The neighbor did it; CCC and other folks merely equipped.

So, tell us here or over at our Facebook page:  who in your family, neighborhood, or church desperately wants to take action to improve their situation? How might you use just an hour or two of your time to leverage their initiative and resources for success? 

January’s Donation Focus: Electric Heaters

True story: Yesterday afternoon I was delivering a dresser in the Brown Beast (Christians Concerned for the Community’s tan Ford Ranger), and was literally stopped in the street by a neighbor seeking an electric heater. She said, “I don’t need it today, but February’s coming, and I can’t keep paying that high bill.” She assured me that she was only looking for something small that she could take from room to room.

Take a look at our appeal for heater donations from last week, and let us know:

Will you help a family stay warm this winter?

CCC welcomes Tony and Nina Cogdill to the team!

Christians Concerned for the Community just DOUBLED the number of staff to 4. Find out more about Tony and Nina Cogdill below, or check out our about page for more info!

Nina Cogdill, Office Manager

Nina works as CCC’s Office Manager because she feels called to equip, empower, and love her neighbors. She has always felt led to help others in a variety of situations. She met her husband, Tony, while she was Youth Director at her church, and they later opened their home to foster children. Before moving from Ohio to Florida in 2005, she spent many afternoons sharing meals with inner city residents on a mobile soup kitchen school bus, and now volunteers time to helping homeless friends prepare job applications, find assistance and employment programs, and helping meet physical development needs.

Tony Cogdill, Donations Assistant

Tony’s consistent and continual commitment to love and empower others has led him to serve as CCC’s Donations Assistant. He has dedicated over 25 years to various avenues of ministry. Back in Ohio, he served his church as elder, board member, ministry team and worship team member, and Bible teacher. Since relocating to Florida in 2005 with his wife Nina, Tony has volunteered as worship leader, Bible teacher, and regularly sings on the worship team at his home church. He serves alongside Nina to reach out to homeless friends and study the Bible with them. He brings all this experience to bear in equipping our volunteers to help neighbors in crisis meet their need for good and usable furniture and appliances.

8 Key Components of Christian Community Development

Christians Concerned for the Community is in some ways an attempt to answer the question: “How can we continue to develop our community together?”

We live out this answer by seeking God’s will through Scripture reading and prayer. We live it out by asking neighbors need and what they can contribute to their community flourishing. We also try to live it out intentionally, following a framework outlined by the Christian Community Development Association as the “8 Key Components” of Christian Community Development.

Check out the 8 key components at ccda.org.

CCC truckS

CCC truckS

So blessed to have TWO trucks at CCC now! On the left is the Brown Beast, 03 Ford Ranger, back from the shop with a solid new front end. On the right is Gold One, 01 Ford Ranger, recently donated with new tires, radiator, and shocks, and a full tank of gas. We’re stoked to have double the truck capacity to help neighbors in crisis to meet their needs for good and usable furniture and appliances. Can we equip you to use one of these trucks to love and serve our neighbors?

CCC Spotlight on Services

This week’s spotlighted CCC service is accessibility ramps.

photo_022609_002Neighbors from around Alachua County call almost daily, asking for assistance meeting their needs for accessibility. Executive Directer Ericson Frank meets with those neighbors, plans together for how to partner to build a ramp, then organizes a team of volunteers to build the ramp.

Before I started working with Christians Concerned for the Community, I thought of ramps as just a slightly easier way in and out of a home for folks who used wheelchairs. I’ve found that’s not the whole story at all.

A ramp, railing, or steps can be a lifesaver for an elderly gentleman with heart trouble. It can be a backsaver for the mother of a child with cerebral palsy. It’s always a social lifeline for folks who feel literally trapped in their homes with no safe way to engage the community.

Last year Ericson oversaw the installation of 40+ ramps, and a number of stairs and railings besides. This year he’s adding to that, and dreams of the day when he’s overseeing a whole crew of team leaders who are building 100 a year, restoring the hope of safe access to the community for 100 families.

January’s big redistribution request: Electric Heaters

Friends,

Will you donate a space heater to help families in crisis stay warm this January?

We’re stepping up our web presence here at cccgainesville.org for three purposes. We invite you to pray and learn and dream with us as we continue to work together to help develop our community. We invite you to celebrate with us as we do this work. And we invite you to join in our work.

As the donations coordinator, I regularly visit neighbors in crisis who need space heaters for a couple reasons.

One group wants to run the heat, but can’t afford the bill. I want to make sure they can get a small heater this winter just to stay a little warmer.

Another group of neighbors heats their whole home nonstop. I want to empower them to find a smarter and more affordable heating strategy, and get them a small heater to help kickstart that process.

We’re asking you, your business, and your church to donate a space heater.  Will you partner with us to help keep families in Alachua County warm this January? Give us a call at 352.371.1768, stop by our office at 1903 NW 35 Avenue in the Ridgeview neighborhood, or email me at nick@cccgainesville.org

Grace and Peace.