Sunday Church Services Suspended per Colorado COVID-19 Recommendations
Our Home page has new information to help you in these uncertain times. PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO READ EVERYTHING!
Visit our Facebook page for more images and news.
Letter from Pastor Steve
It would appear that FCMF is not needed for Saturday or Sunday hosting (meals and warming) for the homeless. So, we our shutting down our hosting now that the City’s shelter plans are in place (see "Expanded Shelter and Meals for the the Homeless" in the column to the right).
Thanks to all who have been advocating with the city on behalf of our friends who live without houses. Advocacy will have to go on even while we take a break. Long term solutions still need to be sought.
I would encourage any of you who are not considered in a high risk category to consider continuing to volunteer during this crisis. I know Homeward Alliance (Murphy Center) https://www.homewardalliance.org will still need help at the new shelter and you can also contact them if you want to bring food and other supplies.
I also know that Family Housing Network (formerly FFH) also needs to find some new volunteers since many of their current folks are needing to step back.
They will still be hosting four families in various churches around the city. Providing meals is one big thing they will need help with (I know now that your used to cooking for 80 so cooking for only 20 will be an adjustment?)
You guys are super! I'm so proud to be a part of such caring group of folks committed to making our town a better place for EVERYONE!
NOTE: If you would like to contribute your ideas to this column, please send them to email@example.com
This is the time to realize how important our perceptions are and to how important it is to stay calm.
As we watch the behavior of others, we also watch our own. Some of us do well in crises, others not so well. We all have different backgrounds, different things that trigger our fears, and different things that rile us up and calm us down.
We all have an amygdala, the older, “reptilian brain” that responds at the speed of light (well, maybe not that fast) to anything it senses as dangerous … even if it isn’t really dangerous. For example, we see something on a trail when we are hiking and our amygdala screams out, “Danger! Danger! A snake!” Our heartbeat races and we start to shake.
Our frontal cortex, the newer part of our brain that is more rational, does not respond quite as quickly … but it does respond. A few moments later we calm down because we realize, “Oh, that’s only a piece of string.”
If we can just cut ourselves some slack and know that ALL of us respond to what is going on in different ways, then we spend less time worrying about others, blaming, or disliking them. After all, worrying about something does not change it … it just robs us of peace of mind.
And the hormones that course through our body when we are fearful and distressed, are the very ones that damage our immune system.
What I am hoping to do with myself, is to find ways to calm myself down (for me, it’s deep breaths and counting). That way, my fear lessens and I can think more clearly. Think about the things that calm you -- maybe praying, meditating, exercising, walking in nature, looking at photos of nature, sewing, cooking, singing -- and do them!
Plus, if you happen to believe, as I do, that our thoughts and feelings actually contribute to the energy of those around us, staying calm can help others as well.
I try to remind myself that WE are all in this together. As Winston Churchill said in Great Britain during World War 2: "We are all in this together. Let's all do our part!" (don't hold me to this -- it is not a direct quote)
And as the British motivational poster reminded people during World War 2:
"Stay calm and carry on!"
There are no good guys or bad guys in this global situation. There are just ALL OF US – and that includes people, animals, and all of nature. There is some wonderful life force that moves through this planet and it is GOOD. I hope we can all try to get in touch with that presence.
Hopefully my writing wasn’t too philosophical or “out there.”
P.S. Here is a link to a great article by Father Richard Rohr, founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation: https://cac.org/love-alone-overcomes-fear-2020-03-19/
Thoughts For You
During these uncertain times, kind words and thoughts go far. Here are just a few:
“Darkness comes. In the middle of it, the future looks blank. The temptation to quit is huge. Don't. You are in good company... You will argue with yourself that there is no way forward. But with God, nothing is impossible. He has more ropes and ladders and tunnels out of pits than you can conceive. Wait. Pray without ceasing. Hope.” — John Piper
“Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.” — Samuel Smiles
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” — Desmond Tutu
“Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.” — Rabindranath Tagore
"45-for-45" GoFundMe Campaign to Help Us Continue to Help the Homeless
UPDATE -- MARCH 21, 2020: We would like to keep our campaign going so we have funds to continue to help the homeless during this time of COVID-19. The money we collect can go to supplies, contributions to other organizations, helping those without funds, etc.
Please reach out to others and direct them to our GoFundMe site. SPREAD THE WORD via word-of-mouth, phone, email, and social media (might as well put it to a positive use for once).
WHY THE NAME? "45-for-45" stands for "$45,000 for 45 years."
ABOUT OUR FUNDRAISING: In January 2020, FCMF turned 45 years old! To celebrate, we wanted to pay off our $45,000 mortgage to free up $1,500 a month. This money will help us expand our Homeless Outreach Program!
Please share the GoFundMe link with your friends: https://www.gofundme.com/f/45-for-45
FCMF: Authentic, Compassionate, And Inclusive!
Here at Fort Collins Mennonite Fellowship (FCMF), we practice the "radical inclusivity" of Jesus. This means working with, having compassion for, and getting to know people who, as Jesus said, are the “least of us” and are often on the margins of society.
Whether it’s welcoming sexual and gender minorities into our community, hosting homeless families in the Faith Family Hospitality program, welcoming homeless individuals who visit us for warmth, food, and fellowship, helping immigrants, or working for a healthcare system that benefits all, we try to walk in the footsteps of Jesus as best we can.
We use our hands to do God's work, focusing on issues of social justice, peace, and helping those in need.
Expanded Shelter and Meals for the Homeless!
Did you know the homeless are the most vulnerable to COVID-19 (twice as likely to get or spread it) because they do not have homes where they can self-isolate? Instead, they must sleep and eat in crowded shelters!
The City of Ft. Collins looked at the problems, and thanks to lots of emails, calls, and ideas from concerned citizens (many of them from this church), the City has re-opened the North Aztlan Recreation Center (112 E. Willow St.) to serve as a Day Center and Men’s Overnight Overflow Shelter.
The Day Center is open from 8 am to 9 pm. Men’s check-in for the overflow shelter is at 9 pm.
What Can You Do?
We are so grateful for everyone who has helped on Saturday nights and who is committed to serving those without homes in our community. Every Saturday, because of you, we were able to provide a warm place to rest, warm nutritious food and hot showers! But more importantly, we have provided a welcoming space where relationships are nourished and true community is built.
Over the next few months our larger society will be tested as to how much each person, regardless of their wealth or status, is considered as a valuable member of that society.
We have asked the City and County to look into ways to help the most vulnerable – the homeless. These are people who are two times as likely to get and spread CORVID-19 because they do not have home where they can isolate themselves and must often eat and sleep in crowded conditions.
But we must keep the pressure on them since time is of the essence! We suggest you send them an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Consider making points such as these in your letter:
The current crises that we face requires immediate and sweeping actions to protect the most vulnerable in our community.
1) Immediate moratorium of the city's camping ban. This must also include folks sleeping in their cars and RV's.
2) More space for daytime and evening shelters. Current locations are simply not sufficient and overcrowded. Thankfully, North Aztlan Center is now available. However, additional locations need to be opened so shelters can accommodate folks according to CDC recommendation of 6 square ft. Sheltering hours need to be extended. Requiring folks to move out by 6 am does not allow them to get enough sleep (which compromises their immune systems) and also requires them to have to stay outside until day shelters open at 8 am.
This means the City needs to consider opening even more more unused facilities that could shelter or feed folks while giving each individual appropriate physical space.
3) Safe places for the most vulnerable who may need to be quarantined:
5) Help service providers with additional funding to purchase necessary supplies.
(NAME and address)
A Prayer for You
This wonderful prayer was written by a Franciscan priest in Italy while the country is in lock-down.
by Father Richard Hendrick, OFM
March 13, 2020
Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighborhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighburs in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Services and Activities
We're the "little church that could" ... small in size but mighty in action. If you'd like to help us financially, please make out a check to FCMF and mail it to the address listed to the right. --Thanks!
Our pastor is Steve Ramer:
Our address is:
300 East Oak Street
Fort Collins, CO 80524