The Social Justice Forum held at Cedar Ridge Community Church in 2015 brought forth a number of suggested initiatives. Under the umbrella of economic justice and local outreach in particular, a list of potential tasks was formed including:
- engage in advocacy
- use the farm to focus on food justice
- form relationships through service projects
- partner with a local resource-poor school or church
- partner with other churches to support local initiatives
- learn about issues surrounding economic justice (workshops, movie screenings, guest speakers, etc.)
- share practical, inspirational suggestions for what we can do
- include children in initiatives
A team of volunteers formed to address the list and to make a proposed plan for Cedar Ridge to engage in matters of economic justice in our local community. Our work was an outflow and continuation of our church vision statement. In particular,
“Imagine a community scattered throughout the region working as agents of love, peace and hope wherever they are; serving our neighbors, caring for the poor, helping the oppressed. Imagine a community of people who live simply and ethically, who share their land and resources with their neighbors; a community that treasures the Earth and reaches out beyond global, cultural and political barriers to offer friendship and practical support. Imagine a community of people who make the world a better place.”
We want to further explore economic justice issues in our local area and find where Cedar Ridge Community Church can make a lasting, sustainable, practical and relational impact. Through connections made in the community, our service days, our farm deliveries, and a number of meetings with area organizations through 2016, a few partnerships look to have potential for the kind of impact we are hoping for.
While we have more work and research to do, here is a list of a few ongoing projects to jump into:
- On the first Wednesday of every month, we deliver 25 pre-packed bags of food to contribute to Greencastle Elementary School’s food-in-backpacks program, providing grocery staples to help cover weekend meals for identified families in need. We will be accepting donations in labeled bins in the lobby every Sunday. Pick up a sample list, and during your weekly grocery shop put together a bag of much needed non-perishable foods and make a small but tangible difference in the life of a student whose family struggles with food insecurity. Spread the word! Thanks very much in advance! To sign up (so we know to expect your donation) click here. For more information contact Jennifer Hair or Ugo Samuels.
- On the first Saturday of every month, we send a small team to serve during the Shepherd’s Table brunch service. A team of approximately 8 people arrive at the downtown Silver Spring location by 8:45 AM and work with Shepherd’s Table staff to set tables, prepare food, and serve brunch to about 100 men and women in need. Once a quick clean up is done, the team can leave by 11:45 AM. Ages 14 and up. We could use your help! To sign up click here. For more information, contact Tinica Mather.
- Once a quarter, in lieu of a typical Sunday service, as a congregation we share a potluck breakfast together, sing a few songs, pray and then send teams out into the community to serve in various outreach projects. The next Churchwide Day of Service is scheduled for Sunday, Nov 6, 2016 from 9am-1pm. Stay tuned for a sign up list and pick a project that inspires you!
- During our non-profit farm’s growing season (typically between April-Oct) we deliver fresh, chemical-free produce to a number of local organizations serving the homeless and hungry. Deliveries go out on Mondays and Thursdays. Timing and locations are flexible. This year we have delivered to a number of group-homes serving the formerly homeless, to a low-income retirement community, to Shepherd’s Table Food Kitchen, to DC Central Kitchen, and to local volunteer fire stations. The 2016 growing season has now come to a close, but if you are interested in delivering next year please contact Tinica Mather.
- We plan to host another documentary screening at Cedar Ridge. In light of the food insecurity issues faced by a large number of families at Greencastle Elementary School (and the surrounding Briggs Chaney community) now there is no longer an anchor grocery store within easy commute, we will be screening “A Place at the Table”. Details TBD. Stay tuned for more info!
- If you are someone who prays, please pray for economic justice. Despite feeling the odds are a bit stacked against our work at times, we at Cedar Ridge have hope and believe the world can be a wonderful, amazing, light-filled place! You can pray for our work in general, for the people we come in contact with through our outreach partnerships, or click here to be directed to our seasonal prayer focus page.