Sometimes we wonder what our faith does beyond our commitment to the church. In worship we have space to cultivate our relationship with the holy, something that calls us to define our values, relate with others per those values, celebrate compassion for and with others, and recognize injustice when we are in its midst. Often, though, we spend Sunday morning resting in the loving presence of God, renewing ourselves for the world, but then, once actually in that world, struggle to connect that love with our passions and relationships.
Every one of us has some form of a relationship and/or passion (financial, familial, participatory, to name a few) outside of church that exists as a result of our deep faith.
Mine is with the organization Girls on the Run International, and, more directly, Girls on the Run, Greater Boston. I want to share this relationship with you because everything I have done for and with this incredible group is because of my relationship with God, developed and refined through God’s presence here at Allin.
Girls on the Run (GOTR) is a physical activity-based positive youth development program (PA-PYD) that inspires 3rd through 8th grade girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. GOTR envisions a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.
Having coached more than a half dozen seasons at my kids’ school here in Dedham, I have seen this program change young girls’ lives. At the end of the season I’ve held crying parents who are grateful beyond words for what the program has offered their tender daughter. I’ve seen young girls work through confidence issues that, if unattended, could have become self defining as they mature. I have witnessed young girls who begin the season afraid, angry, and shy, end it having learned that they are so much more than what they thought they were.
My passion for this organization called me to introduce the program to Dedham elementary schools in the fall of 2014, encourage its growth to include teams at each of the 4 elementary schools AND our middle school, serve on the board of directors for the Greater Boston district and help hire their current director, Olivia Matthews.
And in April I will run the 123rd Boston Marathon for these incredible girls and in honor of this life changing organization.
All of this because my relationship with God, cultivated through the work of the church, insists that I encourage young girls to be all that God made them to be. My faith requires that I share my energy and love with young people for whom it is fuel that drives them to be strong, confident, and generous with themselves.
My faith dictates my passions.
What then are your passions? What do you do in your life that is founded in the faith we encourage you to build here at Allin? Where do you share your love and energy in an effort to build up God’s creation?
I want to hear your stories and I want us tell each other our stories. If you are passionately and faithfully connected into an organization, community, or group outside of this church would you consider sharing your story with us in this space in forthcoming newsletters?
My hope is that, by sharing we can begin to understand the connection of our faith to our work in this world and, through this, how valuable our faith practice and divine relationship is to this community and to others all over the world.
Peace, Pastor Cheryl