May 1, 2020
Dear Lake B Family and Friends,
I’m sitting in my office right now on Friday afternoon at 12:30 as the team continues our weekly food distribution to families in the Highline School District. We’ve served 368 families to date, 801 adults and 1035 in the past 7 weeks. In addition, our emergency assistance fund has raised about $22K and disbursed $17K for groceries and utilities assistance, serving another 99 families.
It’s been incredible to watch our Lake B community come together with friends and partners from around the neighborhood – giving time to volunteer, extending friendship and service, and countless people giving financial resources. God’s abundant love and generosity is evident. Thank you for stewarding your gifts so faithfully.
I talked on the phone this morning with the Chief Technology Officer at the school district office, asking about needs of kids in our community. I learned that while most children have hardware (laptops, Chromebooks, etc.), access to the Internet remains a significant challenge.
I hung up the phone realizing it is nearly impossible for kids to function in the world today without Internet access. This is even more painfully obvious for kids who now need to connect to virtual classrooms. It is a conundrum. Worse yet, it is an injustice. Our kids who do not have access are losing ground. After the call I started thinking that Internet access should probably be considered as a utility – like access to electricity, access to water, to sewer systems, and to garbage service. It’s essential, especially for kids. For better or for worse, internet access is a key to much of contemporary life.
Does Internet access matter to Jesus? It’s a great – and strange - question. I believe Jesus is concerned about this issue because it is connected to how children will experience life – even as early as first grade. Our kids are being asked to do their work online. Have you ever lacked access to something that most others have? Let me just say it doesn’t feel great, especially if it’s something necessary for you to function well in life. As a child it can mess with you in ways that are hard to describe.
I don’t believe any parent should have to choose between food or Internet service, both of which are now considered basic things. Basic and essential. But this technology gap is playing out in black and brown families in schools right around us.
I encourage all of us in this moment to pay attention. Notice what may have been hidden from us until now – things like access. A colleague asked me today what Lake B is learning during COVID-19. I told him we are continuing to learn how to see Christ and the activity of the Church in new ways.
Injustice is nothing new. It is now - and always has been - overwhelming. But I am not dismayed. I anticipate and hope for a fresh move of God’s Spirit among God’s people – one that will close the gap between rich and poor, between those born into privilege and those for whom simple things - like Internet access - remain an “extra luxury” rather than an essential part of daily life like it should be.
I’m not asking you to do anything specific right now. I am asking you, though, to see injustices you might not have seen before COVID-19. I am asking you to pray for those who suffer under those injustices. They are our neighbors in the community we share. Whether it is food insecurity, lack of access to technology, unfair wages, inadequate health care – we can see it if we will look. I want for ALL kids what I want for my own great nieces and nephews, and for all the children in our faith community: the fullness of life in all ways.
Take some time together to remember families who are suffering today. Many of us reading letter are struggling in many ways during this time. We may or may not know everyone by name, but here’s what we do know: we belong to one another because we belong to God and we are God’s beloved children.
I continue to thank God for the Lake B community and for your generosity of spirit. As we continue to walk together, I know God will reveal to us more and more who we are to become in this moment. In the meantime, let us remain faithful to all that we already know.
So many blessings to you and your families!
I have attached a few pictures below of some of our Lake B folks hard at work today serving on our behalf. Thank you Shearl, Benji, Wendy, Jesse and Melinda and our friends from the community!