Ending 2018, Entering 2019 (An Open Door Retrospect)

2018 was a year of discovery for Open Door. We entered into learning and practice around calling and vocation, resurrection, sabbath, justice, and the gravity and grace of Christ. We continued asking questions about immigration, peacemaking, the story of our local neighborhoods, and how we can both lament and stand in the gaps of injustice.

2018 was a year of transition for Open Door. We navigated multiple staff transitions and continued to hone in on our unique identity and calling as a collective of Jesus followers in the East Bay.

2018 was a year of celebration for Open Door. With joy, we celebrated anniversaries, mile markers, and the arrival of new friends and new babies in our community! We ended the year with the lights, balloons, and experiential invitations of our second annual Goodbye Hello retrospect popup.

2018 was a year of experimental practice for Open Door. We began the first steps of a journey inviting everyone to invest in their local schools. We reshaped many of our collective rhythms around sabbath and rest. We convened dozens of Circles inviting participants into new practices as part of our formation in the way of Jesus.

2018 was a year of growing and deepening our trust in God’s faithfulness. As we enter our fifteenth year as a community walking in the way of Jesus for the good of the world, we continue to experience and invite others into the abundant life made possible by God’s extravagant love made real in the work of Jesus. 

With the help of your prayer, commitment, gifts and investment, we ended the year on track to meet our 2018-2019 budget, with a full core reserve and great progress on our strategic reserve (a portion of our funds reserved for new initiatives and opportunities as we discern God’s invitations).

We step into 2019 with gratitude and expectation for all that’s in store for you, for Open Door, for the East Bay, and the world God so loves. 

Thank you again for your generosity, partnership, and participation in Open Door’s unfolding story!

An Invitation to Retrospect (2018-2019)

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Each year we spend time as a community in Retrospect.

Retrospect is not about your most popular or proud moments, or your greatest successes - but the stuff of the year that was most formative. Often the most formative experiences we have are the most difficult. 

Retrospect is not looking back for the highs but also for the lows - as we journey forward we’ll find ourselves in both peeks and valleys. Both are part of the journey, so we reflect, dig in, imagine, and look ahead to what's on the horizon.

This year's invitation and guide into the practice of Retrospect is HERE. 

At next Sunday's Gathering, we'll spend time listening, sharing, and storytelling together out of our practice of Retrospect. Join us!

The Prayer of Examen

This past Sunday, we practiced the prayer of examen together.

The examen is an ancient prayer that sparks awareness and reflection on how God is at work in your life today. 

There are five steps or movement in the prayer of examen. 

Step 1: Become Aware of God's Presence
Step 2: Review the Week with Gratitude
Step 3: Survey Your Feelings from this Week
Step 4: Go Deeper with a Few of these Feelings
Step 5: Look Toward the Week Ahead

This week, take some time to enter into the examen as an invitation to dwell with God and live into the wisdom and insight of God's spirit.

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Join a Team; Lend a Hand! (Open Door volunteer opportunities)

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If you have any interest in serving, leading, or hearing more about any of the opportunities to serve and lead below, email dave@opendooreastbay.com

Open Door Kids TRU Team (4 people needed)

Serve monthly as a teacher or assistant for our Tru environment (kids age 3-6 years old). (Background check process required)

Alternative option: if you can't commit to serve monthly, join our substitute/backup list to give regular volunteers a break as needed or during the summer Sabbath volunteer rhythm. 

Sound & Tech Team (2-4 people needed)

Serve monthly running sound or media for our Open Door Gathering. No prior technical skills/knowledge is needed and training will be provided!

Gathering Hospitality (2-4 people needed)

Serve once or twice a month to help our Gathering Space feel warm, welcoming, and hospitable each week! This team may occasionally be asked to help with bigger events (concerts, potlucks, etc.)

Open Door Kids THRIVE Team (2-5 people needed)

As our kids get older, we're creating new environments for our Thrive (7+) Kids to learn and practice life in the way of Jesus. This team will balance between Sunday learning environments and mid-week/weekend evening opportunities to connect with Thrive Kids + Families. 

Prayer Team (2-4 people needed)

The prayer team serves in our Gathering and/or "on call" praying for our community's needs and requests. You can join the rotation of people who pray on Sunday evenings during our Gathering or join a team of people who receive requests throughout the week and faithfully pray for them.

School Investment Champions (1-3 people needed)

As part of our 2018 Horizon, we want to help everyone at Open Door invest and contend for local schools. A School Investment Champion will help Open Door make connections, deepen relationships, and take on ramps to investment in local schools. 

Meal Coordinators (1-2 people needed)

Open Door loves bringing meals to people! Whether in celebration, sickness, crisis, or just because, meal coordinators help provide hospitality and presence to those connected to Open Door. 

Everyday Stories Team (1-2 people needed)

We are a community of Storytellers and deeply believe in the power of shared stories—painful, joyful, questioning, pondering, tied up neatly, and messily unfinished. The Everyday Story Team collects, curates, and champions our storytelling rhythms. 

Responding to the Crisis of Immigration & Family Separation

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We held our first Samaritan Response Team meeting this last weekend on Saturday night and Sunday morning in order to try to creatively focus on what is happening at the border. Ryan led us through several exercises in which we researched the issues and the many people and organizations who are responding, brainstormed different ways to join in and make an impact, and articulate tangible practices to start right away.

One of the themes we all latched onto was wanting to be part of changing the narrative from a fabric of fear and violence to a fabric of care and welcome. We realized that we want to start working now to make it very easy to say “YES” to whatever is asked of us in the future. For example, we talked about the huge impact we could make in the future if—as a whole community—we learned Spanish and became certified foster parents.

One immediate action we’ve taken is a t-shirt campaign to raise funds to aid those detained. The campaign is called ‘Love > Lines’ and you can buy the shirts here. The shirts are $30 and the campaign will run through July 17th, so if you’re interested we encourage you to act soon and share it out on your social networks.

We will be meeting again this Friday and continuing this conversation and planning - join us!!

Dave has summarized a lot of the information we covered during our time:

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History & Context

Though we gathered to talk specifically about the crisis of family separation on the border, we quickly dove into some of the historical context around immigration. The US has a long and often tragic history around immigration, borders, detention, and the movement (forced or voluntary) of people. The current crisis is not a unique event but rather another instance of our historied difficulty in navigating a much longer crisis of the politics and economics of immigration and borders.

Current Realities & Changing Policies

In the last weeks, 2,342 children have been separated from their parents at the border. While the official policy is that only families who were found crossing between ports of entry would be detained and separated, there have been reports that families following the procedural steps for requesting asylum (turning oneself in at a port of entry, passing a credible threat test, etc.) have also experienced separation.

Family separation happened because of the so called “zero tolerance policy” enacted by the Trump Administration which heightened the ramification of crossing the border without documentation (while technically a misdemeanor, the zero tolerance policy has lumped it in with more serious felony charges). Because children can not be held in federal jails, they are separated from their parents and shuffled between federal agencies (ICE, Refugee Resettlement, Health and Human Services. 

While the most recent executive order signed by President Trump stops the separation of families at the border and a court order required these families to be reunited within 30 days, there remains a crisis of immigration, the question of how we got to the point where we were separating children from their parents, and what we can do about it.

Local Impact

 This issue hits particularly close to home for those of us in the East Bay. A plan to relocate and detain upwards of 47,000 immigrants at the Concord Naval Weapons Station has been circulating. In Pleasant Hill, a local shelter houses unaccompanied minors, including two young girls who were separated from their families because of the recent policy changes.

Even if this current crisis of separated families is resolved, it is clear there is much work to be done in order to care well for the dignity, health, and wholeness of individuals and families who have immigrated to the United States. 

If you’re wanting to jump in right now and join some organizations that are making a huge impact, we’ve added a list below!

Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity - Nueva Esparanza (http://www.im4humanintegrity.org/new/northern-california/)

Working locally in the Bay Area, the Nueva Esparanza program forms accompaniment teams to walk alongside recently immigrated individuals and families as they adjust to and navigate life locally in the East Bay. 

Monument Impact (http://monumentimpact.org/en/home/)

Monument Impact provides all kinds of services - including job resources, language and computer classes, community engagement, etc. - for the low-income immigrant community in the Concord area of the East Bay. Their Day Labor Program provides clear and respectful ways for many immigrants to find work at fair prices by working with contractors and individuals who need skilled labor for a variety of jobs.

Change.org (https://www.change.org/p/president-trump-children-don-t-belong-in-cages)

To sign a petition focused on ending long-term, indefinite detention of immigrant children:

The Youth Center (https://www.theyoungcenter.org/)

The Young Center is a champion for the rights and best interests of unaccompanied immigrant children, making sure that wherever they land, whether here in the U.S. or in their home country, they are safe. To learn more or donate:

RAICES (https://www.raicestexas.org/about)

Raices is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency that promotes justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees in Texas. They need donations, volunteers for events and immigration accompaniment volunteers:  

Safe Passage Project (https://www.safepassageproject.org/)

Safe Passage Project was created to address the unmet legal needs of indigent immigrant youth living in New York by providing these indigent youth with basic advice and assistance. We work with volunteer attorneys to provide representation for unaccompanied minors in immigration court. Safe Passage provides training, resources, and mentoring to volunteer attorneys regarding Special Immigrant Juvenile (“SIJ”) status as well as other possible immigration alternatives for children. 

KIND: Kids In Need of Defense (https://supportkind.org/)

KIND’s vision is to create a world in which children’s rights and well-being are protected as they migrate alone in search of safety. They work to achieve this vision by ensuring that no child appears in immigration court without high quality legal representation; advancing laws, policies, and practices that ensure children’s protection and uphold their right to due process and fundamental fairness; and promoting in countries of origin, transit, and destination durable solutions to child migration that are grounded in the best interests of the child and ensure that no child is forced to involuntarily migrate.