This month we center our worship and congregational life on the Path of Change. In November, change is present in the turning of the seasons as days get darker and the weather gets colder.
There is both an imperative to change- and a fear of change- present in every circumstance. While change is an ever-present fact of being alive, the call to change our lives, our communities, our world – even for the better- can lead us to uncomfortable places.
At this time, change is needed here in Stamford. The leadership and members of this community have become increasingly aware of the impact of a lack of affordable housing on our congregants, friends, and neighbors. The few emergency shelters that exist are full, with nowhere for residents to move to. The call to create more affordable housing in Stamford has been met with strong resistance, and those left out in the cold are largely ignored.
This is a community need that is present throughout the state of Connecticut, and throughout many other places in the United States. Often- and historically- faith communities have responded to take care of the needs of those without shelter. This community need requires change- and it calls on us to respond. How can we support those among us who are housing insecure? As the days get longer, darker, and colder, what can we do to provide outreach to our neighbors?
I recently spoke to the Rev. Winton Hill, who is Public Safety Liaison for Mayor Simmons, about this issue. Rev. Hill expressed that faith communities are a missing piece in addressing the affordable and emergency housing crisis in Stamford; our voices are important. He will be inviting us into action steps that we can take to support the need for change.
In the meantime, there are actions we can take right now. A Ministerial Discretionary Fund allows me to use my own discernment to help those we are in relationship with to meet shelter, food, medical, and other emergency needs. Our Sunday offertory will help to replenish this fund. Larger systemic change is also needed. On Election Week, we can raise our voices in the voting booth to support candidates who advocate for human rights and dignity. There will be future opportunities to address this need for change right here in our community– and your help is needed! Please stay tuned for calls for action- and reach out if you wish to get involved or have ideas to support.