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Knowledge & News
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Dear Collective partners, supporters, and friends,
What an amazing and difficult year! We’ve walked together through some of the darkest times in our community, region, and nation; through global terror, domestic racial tension, the Pulse tragedy in our back yard, and the division of a difficult election season. But we’ve also celebrated together all of the exciting things that have been created, the new people, groups, gatherings, and opportunities contributing life, working for justice, stirring innovation, and pouring vitality into Collective, DeLand, and the world.
I continue to have so many conversations with people searching for genuine belonging in community, desiring to lean into sacred mystery, and to experience life in the deepest and most vibrant dimensions. Sadly, so often, the last place people look is in a church. My life and vocation have been spent creating spaces, curating conversations, presenting inspiring content, and offering opportunities to help people on similar paths of belonging and shared formation.
"If you're like Stacy and me, and so many others, you’re on this same pilgrimage – unable to pretend the tired old ways and easy religious answers, and energized by the unknown future of a faith we’re rediscovering and remaking together."
So many of us have tried swapping out various styles of church, faith, and religion, only ultimately to discover that the change we seek, the generous spirit we’re after, is not a matter of style, but of a profoundly different substance: trading exclusive believing for unconditional belonging, moral judgment for a buoyant form of life, and tribal hostility for genuine hospitality. Collective is practicing (even as we continue to discover) this fundamentally different approach to faith and community. This year has reminded me what a gift it is to lead a community, not as an expert or answer-man, but as a fellow pilgrim. I have the privilege of listening, offering platforms, and speaking, myself, the voice of this community.
Over the past 4 years, Collective has helped hundreds of people to discover belonging, open their understanding and experience of faith, and find incredibly meaningful paths of personal and social formation with a community on a shared journey.
Now, sustaining our congregation depends upon each of our personal financial commitments. As a congregation that doesn’t have “members”, nor the religious guilt that comes with supernatural requirements, it is to us to take on this responsibility; Not religious obligation, but ownership.
2016 has been a year of significant growth and development: We expanded Collective Kids, we hired Cecil as the Director of Collective Cares (committing to her and to this cause, though unsure how we’d fund it). Over the past 3 years, Jess has grown into an expanded role and has been promoted to the Director of Operations and Community Development, an overdue acknowledgement of the critical role she plays. With all the exciting development, we are in the process of searching for our first additional staff person, with some limited, grant funded, financial assistance. We need help paying better attention to the many connections across DeLand and online, caring for our volunteers, leaders, and interns, and thinking ahead about the ongoing development of kids and students. Though the proposed budget is a significant jump, we believe we can meet it.
However you’ve connected, and to whatever degree, please know that we depend upon you as well.
This may require some intentional financial trade offs. We believe this community is worth it, and we are certain your commitment is important to our shared future. Those of us who already fund Collective are asking you to join us.
Please take time to consider the value of Collective in your life and beyond, and invest in our shared future. Our goal is to pledge the budget of $13,000 per month by December 31st, 2016; and for as many as possible to be recurring scheduled gifts. Of the $13,000 budget, we can already count on over $9,000 monthly through scheduled gifts and existing pledges.
Will you set up a monthly recurring scheduled gift, helping to fund the budget for the coming year? Visit CollectiveGives.Com and click “Give Here”. Enter the amount of your support, select “Yes, repeat this gift”, and complete the quick registration process. Your recurring scheduled gift counts as your pledge. If you can’t make a recurring scheduled pledge, a non-automated pledge form is available at CollectiveGives.Com.
Thanks again for your presence and support,
PS – Mobile Giving is quick & easy | Text WEARECOLLECTIVE to77977
We are a misfit faith community that gathers in DeLand on Sundays at 5pm. Come as you are.
We value highly the metaphor of journey. We’re different people from different places and backgrounds, representing an intergenerational community, and we’ve traveled different paths. So, we agree not to make assumptions about the person across from us, next to us, or in conversation with us. We challenge ourselves to be sensitive, knowing this community includes a diverse group of people from life-long followers of Jesus, to people who are just now open to the idea that God might exist. We strive to avoid offense, ask good questions, articulate and explain our responses. We don’t assume fluency in bible, spirituality, or Church language, because we believe the message of Jesus is not for Christianity, but for humanity. So, we do everything in the spirit of love and grace.