By Chandler Means
“Canceled? Are you kidding me!?” That’s how I felt on March 12th, how about you?
March 12th was a bit of the “C” day if you will: the day many of our regular activities began to be canceled. The SEC Basketball Tournament being held right here in Nashville – canceled! Followed by March Madness, the NBA, MLB’s Opening Day, then the Masters (seriously, even The Masters?) Then all spring sports, pro college, high school and youth sports.
Then there were cancelations for the really important things in our community: schools, churches, funerals, weddings, graduations and so much more. These gatherings, celebrations and events provide the backdrops for relationships, stories and connections that form remembrances we hold close for years to come. To our frustration, the pandemic of 2020 has dealt a shockwave that ravaged our expectations of ordinary life. Looking back at our calendars, it seems to be the year that canceled spring and summer altogether and now threatens the glorious season of fall.
However, not all has been lost, and certainly, not everything was canceled. At AGAPE, most all our plans, appointments, sessions and services never ceased. Whether virtually or in-person while masked and distanced, AGAPE still found a way to love and serve our community.
While you and I were encouraged and then mandated to stay “safer at home,” we remembered that not everyone was safe at home. Because of the prayers and support of our AGAPE partners, AGAPE never stopped providing safe homes for children in loving foster homes, offering refuge and shelter for victims of domestic violence, or offering counseling sessions to people of all ages and in all walks of life. By the grace of God, AGAPE was never closed and never canceled!
Since that “C” Day in March, AGAPE has:
- Assisted 534 victims of domestic violence with Orders of Protection
- Provided 1,248 nights of shelter to women and children fleeing their abuser
- Served 63 children through foster care
- Provided more than 5,000 counseling sessions
- Trained and/or certified 31 new families to serve as foster families
In a typical year, you’d probably be expecting to receive information about our plans for the annual Fall Southern Social around this time. After much prayer and consideration, we, along with our AGAPE Board of Directors, have decided to not host the event this year, which was originally planned for October 13th. But here’s the good news – this isn’t a cancelation letter; rather, it’s another invitation. An invitation to connect with AGAPE this fall.
We’re inviting you to see up close as our staff carries out hopes and plans for children in our care; walk down the hall with us as we peek into preparations for foster parent training; listen in and pray for us and with us as we seek God’s will for AGAPE’s future. And be the first to learn about some changes we are making as we fully incorporate Morning Star Sanctuary into the legacy of AGAPE.
We hope that through this invitation, we help you see that you are serving with us and beside us because you are. I believe we see that more clearly, and maybe this crisis has given us the clarity and the mission to continue to serve as we are called and to honor you with a better seat at the table.
So, we invite you to join us as our honored guest this fall season as we:
- Celebrate together
- Make plans for the future
- Move forward with a new determination
Be on the lookout for more information this fall about ways you can connect with AGAPE. A foreign contagion might be able to shut down our schools and wipe out our calendars, but with your support and by the grace of God, it cannot and will not wipe out our mission to serve with the healing love of Christ. Love is not canceled.
Thank you for your support in the past. We invite you to partner with us financially again this fall season to continue providing the services and programs for those who need them most during this time of transition, change and uncertainty.
Will you consider a gift again this year on or before October 13th? To donate online, click here. We appreciate your continued support. May God’s grace and peace be with you.
P.S. For the latest happenings at AGAPE, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.