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Sunday, March 15, 2020: Third Sunday of Lent
Exile and Homecoming?!"
Two opposites cannot be true at the same time. Or can they? I think our faith makes this possible. The vision that dry old bones would one day come alive was preached to the Israelites while they were in exile in Babylon.
Each of us can experience periods of exile in our lives, times or places where we feel cut off from our homeland, or alienated from family or friends, or times of deep and paralyzing despair. And yet we also know that we can still find reasons to live in hope.
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”
— Desmond Tutu
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Fear is the great enemy of intimacy. Fear makes us run away from each other or cling to each other but does not create true intimacy.” — Henri Nouwen
FCMF Dinners and Breakfasts Continue!
Ft. Collins Mennonite Fellowship continues to provide Saturday night meals, showers, fellowship, and a warm place to rest. Doors are open each Saturday from 5 to 10 pm, with dinner served at 6:30 pm.
Pacto de Fe serves Sunday breakfasts at Ft. Collins Mennonite Fellowship. Doors are open each Sunday at 7 am, with breakfast served at 8 am.
News Updates on our Locker Project
Fort Collins and the American Civil Liberties Union are approaching a settlement in the lawsuit our FCMF locker program for homeless people. The compromise would eliminate the city-imposed requirement for an FCMF representative to be on-site at all times and expand people's opportunities to access the lockers, according to ACLU. An FCMF representative will need to be available by phone, and the area will need security cameras. Of course, this compromise must be approved by City Council … so we will have to wait and see!
We also enjoyed local coverage for our locker project on July 2019 and September 2018. Click to read articles or view videos by:
Michael Ranieri's article, "On Sundays, the earliest 'service' is for the homeless," appeared in the July 2, 2019 edition of The World Mennonite Review (page 14).
The article focused on the work our Fellowship has been doing in collaboration with Pacto de Fe, providing food and fellowship on Sunday mornings to the homeless.
Click to read the article (scroll down to page 14)
Get Involved: Fight the Criminalization of Homelessness!
We take our cue from Jesus’ statement:
"What you do to the least of us, you do to me."
How do you feel about people without homes being prevented from sitting and resting without getting fined? Not having access to adequate public water fountains or bathrooms? Not having access to safe shelters? Not having access to lockers to safely store their belongings?
If you feel this is wrong, consider getting involved with the Fort Collins Homeless Coalition. The organization is looking for new members who want to participate and get loud!
Today our City seems to be working to criminalize homelessness, one ordinance at a time, to preserve the "image" of our Old Town.
However, we want to live in a city where ALL members of the population are treated with respect and dignity. Not just those who are fortunate enough to be able to rent an apartment or buy a house. Not just those who have the money to go to the hair dressers or barbers and get a haircut. Not just those who can afford to buy new clothes online or at a store. Not just those with high-paying high-tech jobs and spiffy new cars. But everyone!
Fort Collins Homeless Coalition meetings are Monday at 2 pm in the glass-walled Collaboration Room in the Old Town Library.
For details, contact Cherly Distaso: email@example.com or (970) 419-8944
Stop the Haters …
Spread the Love!
It seems we are constantly bombarded by hate-filled messages from the media and from the Administration.
Every day it seems someone or something is under attack: the earth, wildlife, women, minorities, immigrants, the poor … the list goes on and on.
What can we do? We can do our part – whatever we define that to be -- whatever thoughts, words, and actions resist hate, nurture others, and take care of ourselves.
One way to do this is with physical signs that everyone can see. Signs that say, “I am NOT a hater” – signs that remind people that we are all connected. Put the signs up in a prominent place for ALL to see.
Here are two great signs and HOW to get them:
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.
The Season of Lent
Lent is a time to reflect and prepare our lives for Easter.
During this 40- day period we seek to name our failures to love God and our neighbors to be raised with Christ to new life.
Our human behaviors are making inalterable changes to the wondrous creation of God.
This year our focus will be on the how we have contributed to climate change and how our lives can be renewed to work to reverse it.
Interested in discussing theology in an informal environment? Want to ask questions about God, humans, the planet, divinity, human behavior, current events and more?
You can do all this while eating and drinking with other seekers! That's what Mennopints is all about. Once a month, we visit a different microbrewery on a Friday afternoon at 4:30 pm for food, fellowship, and drink. Each month we announce the location.
"45-for-45" GoFundMe Campaign
UPDATE -- MARCH 14, 2020: We passed $11,000 mark – but have kind of "stalled out." We will be changing the name of our campaign in the near future to focus on our work with the homeless, but we still hope to eventually raise $45,000.
So, 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 hope to pay off our $45,000 mortgage to free up $1,500 a month. This will help us expand our Homeless Outreach Program and make up for the loss of FFH rental income when they move to a new location at the end of March 2020.
Please share the GoFundMe link with your friends: https://www.gofundme.com/f/45-for-45
Locker Project: It's a Go!
After gaining approval from the Planning & Zoning Board on July 19, 2018, our Locker Project made several recipients grateful beyond belief because they had a safe place to store their possessions! One recipient was 8+ months pregnant and another is disabled. You can imagine how hard it was for them to carry their belongings with them everywhere they went. And when they couldn't carry them, they got stolen.
However, the Locker Project soon met another roadblock . Neighbors were quite upset by the lockers and appealed the Board’s decision. Many of those neighbors had unfortunate experiences with the homeless and felt it would be dangerous to have the lockers outside the church. The City listened to their concerns and specified a new set of rules that made it impossible to keep the program going. As a result, the Locker Program was temporarily shut down in September, 2019.
Next, FCMF, with the help of the ACLU, sued the City. After almost a year, an amended locker settlement between the City of Ft. Collins and FCMF was reached. This settlement was voted on and passed by City Council on August 20, 2019.
The amended agreement means an FCMF representative does NOT need to be on-site at all times … just accessible by phone. FCMF will keep the lockers open between 6 am and 9 pm (bolted shut at all other times). And we will require security cameras and lights.
Please continue to donate to the program to help us by the security cameras and lights!
New Group: Non-Bible" Bible Study
Are you between the ages of 18 and 30? Wonder why people believe what they believe .... and how their beliefs impact their actions?
Want to ask lots of questions ans share lots of ideas?
Feel like getting into some cultural anthropology and philosophy discussions while enjoying food and drink at a coffee house?
Then this study group is for you: Click here to learn more!
Buy this sign from our church. The suggested donation is $7 to $10. Contact Pastor Steve at: firstname.lastname@example.org
This sign is available from www.northernsun.com for $9 (add shipping costs
We've Got Photos!
Check out our new Photos page. We've got an ever-changing photo collage plus links to our Facebook Photos and our brand, spanking new Google Photos album.
Real-Life "Loaves and Fishes" Moment
During the holiday season, we celebrate and affirm our commitment to a ministry of love and hospitality for the most vulnerable in our community.
What an amazing Community Thanksgiving! We planned to feed 30 or so, almost 100 people showed up, and we still managed to have food for everyone!
Delicious food, a warm room, plenty of conversation, and a sense of real community were experienced by all.
Our focus is establishing relationships with those who are experiencing homelessness so they begin to feel like they are part of our community. Relationships are the most important factor in life transformations!
Maybe one day, our fair City will care enough about those without homes, that folks won't have to stand in line for one home-cooked meal a year on Thanksgiving, and then wait outdoors in the cold for hours until the shelters open!
And maybe, just maybe, our City will figure out a way to provide affordable housing for all. Hope springs eternal!
Why Lockers for the homeless?
The 2015 Fort Collins Homeless Coalition Survey found that lockers are a high priority among the homeless. 40% of those surveyed said they were NEVER able to store their belongings securely. 75% experienced harassment, discrimination, difficulty with employment, were told to move or sit elsewhere, and were banned from stores because of their backpacks. All had to stash their belongings outdoors, resulting in a high rate of theft. 90% said they would use a free, large-sized locker if available.
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