Monday, August 1, 2011


One thing I love about my job is the chance to represent you in the community. I believe Plymouth Creek has a wonderful, unique take on living faithfully, and sharing that with our neighbors is for me a privilege and source of pride. I hope you feel the same, often seizing your opportunities to shine as a beacon of openness and service wherever you may be. You do, right?

Anyway, one place I do so is on the Board of our friend and local social-services provider, Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners. Plymouth Creek has long supported IOCP and the good work they do of feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, loving the downtrodden and standing up for outcasts in the northwestern suburbs. Faith in action is real faith, I believe Jesus would suggest, and so when Interfaith helps struggling single moms stay in their homes, provides employment assistance to fathers without work, gives scholarships so children from low-income families can attend high quality childcare (which some claim is the #1 most effective way to sustainably combat poverty…), well, those are everyday examples of faith coming alive. And it’s something our church contributes to consistently, more generously in fact than an outside observer might expect. So on the Board I try to accurately represent your commitment to living, compassionate, generous faith. God knows, there are too many these days who need Christians of that ilk to step up and make a greater difference.

I mention that this month for two reasons. #1- To remind us again to let our faith lives be about more than belief or making ourselves feel good, but also about impacting our neighborhoods with goodness. A message we should keep before our eyes always. But more timely, and #2, I want to celebrate with you something shared at the last Board meeting; the culmination of years of hard work, courage and visionary leadership on the part of IOCP’s Board, staff and its many supporters and donors. Perhaps you’ve heard, but if not, you ought to know that this month, August 2011, IOCP will be moving. Or rather, expanding into a grand new facility on the corner of Hwy 101 and County Road 6 in Plymouth!

Long time residents tell me that the building IOCP has purchased and renovated (all thanks to the generosity of community residents, which included some of you…) was once a local grocery store. Now, it will house IOCP’s administrative offices, caseworkers, volunteers and social services (transportation assistance, housing aid, childcare scholarship program, etc.), along with an expanded food shelf more like that at their sister social service agency PRSIM, and a Resale/thrift shop open to clients and all the community (clients getting better deals). Also, within the building, some “community partners” will have offices, including the Wayzata Public Schools’ Community Ed (great if, say, an IOCP client needs GED help) and a satellite for Hennepin County Government Services. There will be other non-profits setting up shop, a community room for educational programming of interest to our cities’ residents and even a meditation room for spiritual renewal. I’m probably missing some stuff, but you get the gist. Within a few short weeks, IOCP will experience much increased capacity for effecting positive change, all with the goal of changing the odds for the most vulnerable amongst us.

If you want to celebrate this achievement with IOCP, here are dates to keep in mind- August13, staff move in, begin unpacking and organizing; August 18- IOCP will host a ‘Grand Opening’ for clients and their families; August 22- the building officially “Opens for business” (alas, to get everything ready, they’ll halt normal operations from Aug 15-19, which IOCP is prepping clients for); and finally, on September 8, from 4:30-6:30 PM, IOCP will host a ‘Grand Opening’ for the entire community to come and see this monumental success we’ve helped make happen. I’ll be there. I hope you will be too. But if not, please join me in prayer that day, and on all those dates, lifting thanks and praise to God who inspires us not only to believe in love, but to put love in action.

Grace and Peace,

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