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February 15, 2024 | Faith, Community and Non-Profit Leader Check-In Meeting



Our every other week check-in meeting is open to anyone interested in supporting compassionate community response to our most vulnerable neighbors. Meetings are held online every other Thursday from 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Email LeDayne Polaski for Zoom access code. In addition, if you would like to receive notification when these minutes are posted, please email LeDayne and ask to be added to the Thursday meetings email list.



Want to learn more about we do on our calls? Watch this short video clip!



 

Click HERE to Access Zoom Recording:

 

OPENING REFLECTION

BAHA’I PRAYER FOR MEETINGS


O

Divine Providence!  This assemblage is composed of Thy friends who are attracted to Thy beauty and are set ablaze by the fire of Thy love.  Turn these souls into heavenly angels, resuscitate them through the breath of Thy Holy Spirit, grant them eloquent tongues and resolute hearts, bestow upon them heavenly power and merciful susceptibilities, cause them to become the promulgators of the oneness of mankind and the cause of love and concord in the world of humanity, so that the perilous darkness of ignorant prejudice may vanish through the light of the Sun of Truth, this dreary world may become illumined, this material realm may absorb the rays of the world of spirit, these different colors may merge into one color and the melody of praise may rise to the kingdom of Thy sanctity.

Verily, Thou art the Omnipotent and the Almighty!


‘Abdu’l-Bahá



1. MeckMIN Updates


A NOTE ABOUT THESE MEETINGS


These meetings are open to anyone or any group interested in promoting the common good in our shared Charlotte-Mecklenburg community.


The views and opinions expressed here are those of the speakers/presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the MeckMIN board or our member organizations.


 


WHO ARE WE AND WHAT WE DO

 






OUR 2024 CALENDAR





Feb 29 CHECK-IN MEETING FOCUSED ON WORK TO PREVENT YOUTH VIOLENCE

 


Feb 29th Thursday meeting will focus on those working to prevent youth violence and youth crime.  That crime is escalating locally while other crime is decreasing. If you focus on that issue and want to present February 29 or if you have a group to suggest, reach out to LeDayne. Our goal with this meeting is to become more aware of the groups doing good work in this area, how our congregations and organization and our members/clients might benefit from that work,  and we might step up to support it.

 



OPEN TABLES at GALILEE MINISTRIES March 21

 



Join Us for the First Open Tables of 2024, March 21 | 6:30 PM | Galilee Ministries

At an Open Tables gathering, individuals from diverse congregations come together for fellowship and dining; with the goal of building relationships based on our shared humanity that go beyond the divides of tribalism.

Everyone is invited to bring a vegetarian potluck dish to share. (Vegetarian meals make it easier to accommodate a variety of preferences and religious dietary restrictions.)  We sit at tables of 6-8 people making sure that each table has a variety of faith backgrounds and traditions. 


Using some wonderful resources from Living Room Conversations, we have substantive conversations on topics that matter. Register HERE




2024 COMMUNITY LEADER AWARDS BREAKFAST

Awards Breakfast coming up: Nominations are IN, time to SPONSOR!!

May 2nd from 7:30 – 9 AM at Friendship Missionary Baptist


Presenting sponsor: $5000

Bridge Builder award sponsor: $3000

Community Leader Award sponsor: $3000

Beth Wells Interfaith Service Award sponsor: $3000

Sustaining Sponsorship: $1200

Table Sponsor: $600

Half Table Sponsor: $300


 





FAITH LEADER LUNCH NETWORKING EVENT Thursday, February 22  11:30 to 1:00 p.m | Park Rd Baptist Church



This is the first of new quarterly gatherings funded by a grant from the Foundation for the Carolinas. Each time we gather, we'll build in some wellness practices for ourselves, some exploration of what's working well in congregations, and LOTS of networking. 


The February 22 featured speaker will be Dr. Scott Thumma, Professor of Sociology of Religion and Director of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research. Dr. Thumma is the principal investigator of Exploring the Pandemic Impact on Congregations: Innovation Amidst and Beyond COVID-19 and the Co-organizer of the Faith Communities Today Project. He will be joining us via Zoom to talk about his current research on the very real challenges of post-pandemic congregational life AND the factors that impact clergy job satisfaction and well-being. Calling himself an "optimistic realist," Dr. Thumma will highlight both the circumstances that create clergy discontent and the things that faith leaders and congregations can do to address them. 


The wonderful Sherry Waters, Community Chaplain, Stewardship Practitioner, Life Coach, and owner-operator of The Pauline Tea-Bar Apothecary will lead the wellness practice. 


Ammalu Saleh, Executive Chef and Owner of Serengeti Kitchen, will provide an amazing Tanzanian meal for us. She has catered for us several times, and her food is INCREDIBLE. Learn more here: https://serengetichef.com


REGISTER HERE


 


FAITH LEADER-MAYOR MEETING

Tuesday, March 19 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. at Union Seminary

We are also working this year with CCCJ and other local clergy groups and the Charlotte mayor's office to provide regular opportunities for faith leaders to meet with Mayor Lyles and other city officials to discuss issues of concern. The first meeting of 2024 will be Tuesday, March 19. REGISTRATION REQUIRED. We are working to secure funding for lunch. Sign up HERE

 

We're also working to update the registration form -- if you get a Zoom link when you register, ignore it -- this is an in-person event hosted by Union seminary.



2024 Youth Events 




Let us know who your youth leader is so we can loop them in and include your youth in these events. Ledayne@meckmin.org



MeckMIN + JustServe SERVICE PROJECT

Latin American Coalition/La Coalition Newcomers Resource Fair | April 13


Join us on Saturday, April 13 at the Latin American Coalition for a Newcomers Resource Fair. Looking for volunteers to help with food, medicine and clothes distribution and craft making with children. English and Spanish speaking volunteers are welcome. Families welcome with children old enough to help. Register HERE

 

3 DIFFERENT SHIFT times are available:

  • 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

  • 12:00 - 2:00 PM

  • 2:00 - 4:00 PM




SPECIAL NEED FROM Mind Body Baby 


Baby CJ and his Mama came to MBB in a difficult state having already dropped through several cracks in our city/county/state's housing and maternity care system. We are grateful to everyone who stepped immediately stepped up with our first ask for help.


Since the 17th of Jan we have worked to keep Mama afloat and equipped to the best of our abilities while she waits for housing support. We thought we had her able to get into Coordinated Entry and the women's shelter, but her spot was given away to someone else when she got there.


Shortly after she had to leave the shelter, she had a stroke prompted by her severe high blood pressure and eventually lost her sweet girl. She was released from the hospital less than 48 hours later.


When she got back to her motel room, they had taken her stuff and thrown it away and taken her deposit to cover the late fee she incurred while she was hospitalized and losing her child. Yes, some people are that cruel and housing is that much of an issue these motels can just do that.


Mama is a victim of complex childhood trauma, her pregnancy with CJ and baby #2 were both forced upon her. And her only family remaining are the individuals who inflicted the early trauma. She has worked very hard so far to be what CJ needs, but she still needs and deserves help. She is 18 years old.


Please donate what you can so we can keep a safe roof over their heads while we help them get the services they need. There are in-kind needs as well you can kind in CJ's amazon wish list here - https://a.co/7ECR8Xg (we will be editing this list if we are able to secure gently used items locally).


If you give through this portal, every dollar will go to the sustaining needs of mama and CJ while we work within the system and with other local nonprofits to help them get on more solid ground, including mental health support. The need here is big, please give!



PUBLIC HEALTH UPDATES 


David Sweat | David.Sweat@mecklenburgcountync.gov Covid-19 Response Unit Director


Across the US COVID is on the decline.  BUT … that is not true in the South. We still have the highest level of COVID transmission of anywhere in the country.  The hospital burden is not overwhelming but COVID is circulating at high levels and does not seem like it will decline so be careful. Those who are older should make sure they are up to date with the newest vaccine. Faith and community leaders are encouraged to continue to educate about and promote vaccines.  Mecklenburg County has information on the newest booster and how to get it. https://covid-19.mecknc.gov/Vaccination 



NEWSLETTER

If you are not yet receiving our regular email newsletter be sure and sign up here: https://www.meckmin.org/contact-us




THURSDAY MEETING MINUTES

If you are not getting the link to meeting minutes and want to sign up, just email meckmin@meckmin.org.




2. Non-Profit Updates


The views and opinions expressed below are those of the speakers/presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the MeckMIN board or our member organizations.



LEMON TREE


Claire Bleiler | claire@lemontreefoods.org,  Alma Medina | alma@lemontreefoods.org 


We run a text message helpline has connected over 100,000 people to the free food in their backyard.  Our comprehensive dataset of food pantries, soup kitchens, and SNAP resources incorporates real user feedback, so every client improves the experience for the next one. Most importantly, our customer service team meets everyone with warmth & empathy–we call it hospitality–which lets us build a deeper relationship with clients. The team is bilingual – Spanish and English. We are currently helping 5000 households/day.


Last year we launched in the Charlotte community, and also partnered with SHARE Charlotte (https://sharecharlotte.org/nonprofit/lemontree). You can learn more about our organization, and the impact we have on the communities we serve, at https://www.foodhelpline.org. Or text “FOOD” to 90847


HOT-EN-letter no phone color July 21
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HOT-SP-letter no phone color July 21
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ALABAMA CIVIL RIGHTS TRAIL IN MONTGOMERY, BIRMINGHAM, & SELMA


Deborah J Walker | dwalkercharlotte@bellsouth.net 




Join VISIONS for a unique workshop and tour experience along the Alabama Civil Rights Trail in Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma, Alabama.


Visions is a group of 50+ consultants that focus on racial equity and social justice. The organization will be 40 years old in November. 


Participants in this tour will be introduced to VISIONS' foundational model, frameworks, and tools while visiting key Alabama civil rights sites including the Equal Justice Initiative’s (EJI's) National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration in Montgomery; the Civil Rights District including the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI), Kelly Ingram Park, 16th Street Baptist Church, and other historic sites in Birmingham; and the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Brown Chapel AME Church, the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute, and other historic sites in Selma.


During the workshop portions of the five-day experience, participants will enhance their personal skills for relating and working across difference, engage in reflective work about their group identities, and learn to understand and mitigate the ways that modern forms of oppression might show up in their lives. Each evening, additional time will be available for affinity groups. These groups will be designed to support any emotional/feeling responses that might arise from the tour portions of the day.


Information session: February 27th at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Information session Registration link:


Tour Date: May 1 to May 6, 2024

 


INVITATION TO THE LAUNCH OF THE FAITH & DEMOCRACY NC INITIATIVE

Jennifer Watson Roberts | Jennifer.Roberts@cartercenter.org | (m) (704) 836-6268,

North Carolina Co-Lead, The Carter Center 



We find ourselves in an important election year in a very polarized country.  In our nonpartisan democracy work with the Carter Center that is striving for a peaceful election season, we find that faith leaders can be very helpful as trusted messengers, role models, and spiritual guides for our communities. This is one reason that our democracy work in NC is launching a Faith and Democracy initiative. The Carter Center has successfully organized this in GA and FL, where it is called Faith Forward Democracy.  (We can come up with our own name here in NC.)


We are fortunate to have a terrific resource for this work, a minister who lived through the violence in Northern Ireland that lasted three decades, a period that was called The Troubles: Rev. Dr. Gary Mason. Reverend Dr. Mason was involved in a number of negotiations in N. Ireland over the years and today works extensively within the Middle East, still in his homeland of Ireland and also in facilitating dialogue between Evangelicals and Liberals in the United States. 


What is the role of religious leaders and religious adherents in facilitating difficult and uncomfortable conversations in a contested political climate? The northern Irish conflict of the 20th century lasted 30 years and eventually came to an end with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. The journey to peace was a long and arduous one, but today it is seen as one of the most successful peace processes of the last 50 years, and a peace process in which both Republicans and Democrats from the US played a very significant part. 


We would like to launch our NC Faith and Democracy initiative by exploring with you the role and motivation of religious actors in securing peace by allowing those from different theological camps to come together to disagree well for the greater good of society. In our inaugural meeting, we will do this by engaging with a number of different protagonists in that conflict, led in conversation with Rev. Dr. Mason. We are partnering with several organizations in this event, including the Reimagining America Project, the NC Council of Churches, and the United Methodist Church, among others.


We are inviting you to join this conversation from 3:00 - 4:30 pm EST on Wednesday, February 28. 


We will have a Zoom link available shortly and a shareable flyer as well. We hope you will reach out to your networks to grow the reach of this powerful initial conversation on peace building. Although faith leaders will find this particularly relevant, you are welcome to invite those who are not faith leaders too.


Please save the date and email Jennifer if you plan to attend: Jennifer.Roberts@cartercenter.org. We will likely record the meeting but do want to have a good live audience to be able to incorporate questions and discussion in real time as well.



Jennifer Roberts and Bob Orr  Co-leads, NC Network for Fair Safe and Secure Elections




Ted Northrup | ted.northrup@gmail.com 

Bill Murphy | bmurphy0930@gmail.com


We are clthomeless.com; a website designed to aid the homeless seeking shelter. We have designed our site to reduce the trauma of navigating and understanding the large variety of resources in the Charlotte area. We are unlike findhelp.org because

  • We visit every resource and we are focused solely on Charlotte and Mecklenburg County

  • We “tell it like it is” in terms of guidance for matching a resource to a person’s needs

  • We give detailed instructions to optimize in-take

  • Our website also contains a questionnaire for resource providers to start the process of getting on our site or contact us at 704-617-1441


Please reach out to Ted or Bill if you want to add your organization or your resources to the website. 



THE PARK COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORP.


Danyae Thomas | danyae@theparkcdc.org | (704) 209-5057 EXT. #1

Director of Programs


The Park CDC is dedicated to providing accessible information, resources, and tools to promote equity in affordable housing, healthy living, and economic mobility in West Charlotte. We focus on three pillars: Healthy Living, Affordable Housing, and Economic Mobility. Co-developers already in a senior living building and they have many partners throughout Charlotte. They have a healthy living space with a Cooking Matters program which discusses where resources are, what healthy eating means and more. They also manage an urban garden space which they use to teach gardening and provide produce to the food insecure. They also provide financial management and home ownership information for many. Reach out to Danyae to learn more. 


You can join us in 4 ways:


Donate: Your support increases our ability to provide affordable housing, support healthy living, and advance economic mobility within the communities which we serve.


Sponsor: You can sponsor a program or event directly just reach out to Director of Development & Communications Lauren Grant at 704-209-5057 x2 or at lauren@theparkcdc.org. The following sponsorships are available: 

  • Program Sponsorship (2024 fiscal year)

  • Volunteer Appreciation Event (April 2024) 

  • Annual Gala (Spring 2024)

  • “Hallelujah & Harvest Fest” (October 2024)


Partner: Through collaborative partnerships, we deliver high-quality programs to support the needs of our community members. We work alongside of our community partners to educate and empower local residents to improve their health, financial, and housing outcomes  To learn more about our partnership opportunities, please e-mail programs@theparkcdc.org.


Volunteer: Click here to learn more about our volunteer opportunities. For questions, please e-mail volunteer@theparkcdc.org To register as a volunteer, please go here: https://www.theparkcdc.org/our-impact/volunteer 




TAI CHI AT GALILEE


Emily Parker |  edgalileeeast@gmail.com 



Galilee will host a second round of Tai Chi 4 Health Introduction Level classes with

instructor Maeya Carr and her team starting on Friday, March 1, 2024. Please consider

joining us. 


What:  Tai Chi 4 Health | Introduction Level Classes

When (all Fridays): March 1, 8, 15, and 22

Note: If you want to participate, it is important that you attend the first session on  March 1.

Time: 9:30 am - 11:00 am

Where: Galilee Ministries of East Charlotte (3601 Central Avenue, Charlotte 28205)


What to know: 

  • Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing.

  • You can practice with your shoes on or get socks with rubber grips on the

  • bottom. 

  • Bring your own water.

  • Bring a yoga mat if you have one.

  • These sessions are for people 18+.

  • Each session will be $5 per person. Please consider if you can give more. Your generosity could help someone else participate.


Please let Emily Parker (EDGalileeEast@gmail.com)  know if you plan to attend the first

session on March 1 and RSVP at bit.ly/3ZaBNKz to secure your spot.


 


CHARLOTTE BIPOC MEDITATION COMMUNITY


Danny Tindall | composer3001@gmail.com | 740-602-1110

Renaurd West | jrenaurdsr@gmail.com | 864-238-3279




CBMC is an emerging Charitable Program of the Social Good Fund. CBMC is dedicated to practices of Mindful Meditation, Insight Meditation, honoring our ancestors and creating ritual and safe places for black indigenous and people of color to gather to foster freedom of heart and mind.

 

We are hosting a very special event with Dr. Rima Vesely-Flad at Johnson C Smith University, on February 16 & 17. All people are invited. ALL ARE WELCOME. Dr. Vesely-Flad is Associate Professor of Religion, Philosophy, & Social Justice & Visiting Professor of Buddhism & Black Studies at Union Theological Seminary


Talk & meditation 

WHEN: Friday, February 16 , 2024, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm 

WHERE: JCSU, TC 103 (aka Yancey Hall 103)


Half-day retreat / Talk & meditation

When: Saturday, February 17, 2024, 9 am - 12:30 pm / 

WHERE: JCSU Student Union, 2nd Floor - Grimes Lounge


Admission is Free. TO REGISTER: Contact Renaurd West, jrenaurdsr@gmail.com or call (864) 238-3279




THE JUNIOR CULTURED CHEFS


Chef Gillian Howard | yourculturedchef@gmail.com

Cultured Concepts, LLC, executive chef/owner, The Junior Cultured Chefs, INC, Co-Founder

IG: YourCulturedChef 

IG: TheJuniorCulturedChefs 


Below, I have attached a brief synopsis of the work I (and my culinary team!) do in regard to food sovereignty and combatting food insecure areas through education and advocacy. Please consider sharing this in the Feb. 29th edition, as the work is focused on youth and other vulnerable communities. ( veterans, seniors, displaced persons, youth) 




Cultured Concepts LLC/ The Junior Cultured Chefs, INC


Culinary Arts Teaching Component that focuses on the holistic practices and benefits of food consumption. Within these targeted food insecure areas, Cultured Concepts will implement various programs that guide its inhabitants forward towards a more intentional and sustainable way of purchasing, preparing, and preserving sustenance.


 ● Junior Cultured Chefs (Non-profit)- In this 6-week, STEM forward culinary course, The Junior Cultured Chefs are introduced to their local food systems and the sustainable practices in which to foster, support and maintain access to them.They are introduced to kitchen etiquette and basic cooking skills including chopping, slicing, sauteeing, marinating, and baking. Field trips to various community gardens create space for exploration of vegetation and cultivation. Youth learn to complete the food chain cycle by composting fruits and vegetables in preparation for returning nourishment to the earth at their local garden plot(s).

 

•Each session,  20 school-aged children (7-17yrs) are invited to Dr. Ophelia-Garmon Brown Center to learn and create farm fresh snacks, salads, kid-friendly entrees and healthy desserts. Students come together to enjoy a family meal with their peers and debrief with leadership as their parents are invited to share in the harvest.


•In the Off-Season (Jan-June), 20 community children, new AND subscribed are invited to Charlotte Regional Farmers Market from 11-1a for a farm-to-table experience. Youth meet the growers and farmers on a scavenger hunt, collecting the ingredients for that day’s meal. The menus are culturally expansive, and each day Camp tours a country/region as it pertains to food and language. 




UPDATE ON CITY COUNCIL VOTE


Joe Hamby | jhamby@roofabove.org | 704-574-6154

Director of Community Education


During the vote to consider the recriminalization of 6 ordinances folks showed up. 6 out of 8 were passed 7-3 (Councilpersons Johnson, Brown and Mayfield voted against). Thank you for those who reached out. There are now 2 port-o-johns located outside of Hall Marshall and two permanent loos are coming. They also voted to upfit the portable showers and bathrooms. Biggest steps were funding a 3 person care team and expanded the CMPD care team. It also built momentum for non-congregate shelter for those with mental house needs, and doubling the housing trust fund. 


To stay apprised, sign up for Roof Above’s 2 X 4 newsletter at https://mailchi.mp/roofabove/advocacy-newsletter 


Rahm Emanuel's rule:  “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that [is] it's an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before."




PLEASE JOIN US FOR A SUMMIT ON GUN VIOLENCE

Equipping Church Leaders to Promote Awareness, Safety, and Healing


When:  March 6th, 9 – Noon.

Where: Davidson College Presbyterian Church, The Congregation House, 218 Concord Road in Davidson, NC.




Gather for inspiration, networking, and resourcing as we hear from representatives of RAWtools South, Be SMART, Davidson Lifeline and the Office of Violence Prevention.  Return to your community better equipped and better informed to address the impact of gun violence and to reduce its frequency. 

A free lunch will be provided for all who register by Sunday, March 3rd. 





RIDING UP TOGETHER TO THE LEANDRO DAY OF ACTION FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION EVENT


Linda Traum | ltraum1189@gmail.com  

Co-chair LWVCM Education Team The League of Women Voters



Charlotte Mecklenburg, Education Action Team is dedicated to advocating for public education. We are excited to join other advocates across the state on February 22nd from 10-2 at the Leandro Day of Action For Public Education Event in Raleigh.


The League of Women Voters in Charlotte is sponsoring a bus, and we are looking for more people to participate. We would like you and other members of CMAE to join us. There will be no cost for you to ride on the bus.


Schedule:   The bus will leave at 6:15 am and return between 5 and 5:30 pm.  

We are asking people to gather at 6 am in the back parking lot of Myers Park Baptist Church on Roswell Avenue.   The church address is 1900 Queens Road, Charlotte NC 28207, Please try to carpool so that there are enough parking spaces. Please bring your own snacks for the bus ride.    

 

We will stay for the program which goes from 10 am - 2 pm.   

 

You will need to RSVP at  http://tinyurl.com/actionforeverychild 

Please share this information with others in public education.  Please reply to Linda Traum at ltraum1189@gmail.com for a reservation for the bus no later than 2/20/2024. Seats are reserved on a first-come first-serve basis.








 

Melanie L. Edwards, MSW, MIA, LCSWA, 704-910-5810,


Hope Clinic works with refugee and migrant community.  They provide integrated physical and mental health care and case management. They will be sponsoring training through opiate prevention funding. The training will be Feb 28-March 1 at the clinic from 9-5. it is open to any member of the public. Focus is on how do we create trauma informed spaces for all community members. Limited to 25 participants.

 

 


 

REV. BARBER @ MAYFIELD MEMORIAL MISSIONARY BAPTIST



Cate De Mallie | 704-870-1431



Saturday, Feb. 17 @ 12:30 pm Bishop William Barber II will be at Mayfied Memorial Missionary Baptist Church, 700 W. Sugar Creek Rd., Charlotte.






CARE RING: HEALTHY START CONSORTIUM


 

We will develop cross-sector partnerships to ensure access to coordinated, comprehensive maternal, child, and family medical care; health and parenting education; and community-based resources that address social determinants of health within the project area.  

 

We’d like to welcome thus far to the Consortium: 

 

Charlotte Community Health Clinic

Charlotte Chapter of CHARMS Inc.

Charlotte Works

The Duke Endowment

Unite US (NCCARE360)

Urban Institute for Strengthening Families

Wellcare

Zetas of Charlotte Benevolent Foundation


For those who have yet to complete the survey and officially confirm your commitment, please identify your desire to participate by the Consortium Meeting.