Who else is ready for optimism??!! We made it through another difficult year, and frankly, I am ready for some things to go WELL and good! In truth, we have learned so much and continue in our endeavor to develop the Artisan Market & Garments of Praise into a portable solution for churches that need a relatively low-bar funding & ministry solution.
Our focus in 2023 moves to launching these portable ministries that have been incubating for the last couple years. We have been building some things and are working in partnership with our Oswego area ministry in addition to what we are working on in Eureka.
First up our focus is on serving the least (because we follow Jesus / Yeshua). We are continuing to endeavor to make the Artisan Market and Garments of Praise slave-produce free because we do not believe we can fund ministry with dirty goods. "The blood of the innocent poor cry out from your clothes... while you protest your innocence" Jeremiah 2:34. (Yeah, it is that serious. We are in a time of greater utilization of slavery for production of apparel and goods than any other time in human history. Manufacturers continues to invest in countries with little or no ethical concern for slave or near slave labor and known practices of enslaving minorities such as Christians. Read your labels. There is a very dark reason the most unethical parts of the world are doing most of the manufacturing.)
WHEW - moving into lighter topics -
AND in the Spirit of edifying the least, we are working on a couple of Special Needs ministries. We are building SPARC Center and Ministry to support children and their parents and families as they navigate the special needs experience. It is a difficult and lonely scene. We are hoping that open play times, arts, community groups, and family support will provide basic positive offerings as we work to imbue community time with peace and playful joy.
And it is not just for special needs children, though we hold them at the center of our mission at SPARC Center. Like all our ministries, everyone is welcome. And we believe anyone who comes will benefit. We are utilizing cutting edge research to build activities for adding peace and healing in our center - including sound and light frequencies shown to positively support peaceful neurological states. (It's been a research-intensive couple of years.)
We will hopefully be also offering open play time and support for single moms, and will be offering some spiritual therapeutic options in support groups and in the arts for mothers grieving loss of infants and pregnancy.
And we are helping our long-time partners in Oswego, YoungLife ministries, to launch Capernaum, a ministry for special needs high schoolers. We have experience with the community from our time running point on the special needs proms in Oswego, including working with the Tebow Foundation on the Night to Shine for Chicago-land. And we are hoping to learn from YoungLife, a long established nation-wide and ministry.
And we are working forward on building inclusive worship, our ongoing project. The Words of Jesus / Yeshua echo in our heads as we prepare to build for praise and worship and ekklesia around children and special needs persons. We will soon gather to honor and worship the Lord as He instructed, and edify one another in love. And it will look very different from other settings. I've been studying Scripture ardently for the last few years in response to the changes we experienced in life and ministry. I am eager to build what the Lord is revealing. But it is on His time and providence, so stay tuned.