I see in you the seeds of something very fine.

That line has hung in my personal stratosphere for years, a quote from a book I’ve never read, Winesburg, Ohio, by Sherwood Anderson.

It is what I tell my kids and myself and all those I love. It is what I long to hear, of course, whether my own fine seeds have sprouted or flourished or remain chilled and forgotten.

Most days I have an addict’s drive to hear it from the world at large, like the big fly trap in Little Shop of Horrors: “Feed me, feed me,” the greedy needy narcissistic plant demands. But the flies the world sends never satisfy; and when my heart’s set straight, I’m content to hear that blessing only from God Himself. I know it to be the great promise of the One who created me, the One who knows my frame and—can you believe it?—likes me, loves me, rejoices over me with singing all the same.

I see in you the seeds of something very fine has stuck with me and struck me with such power because I believe speaking such a blessing to another is the heart of loving our neighbor and communicating the Gospel. And that’s the point, at rock bottom, of Family Promise and, most directly, our new Call to Community initiative.

My boat floats at the prospect!

As an organization, Family Promise “gets it” about the power of relationships.  Our staff and our board realize that it is through relationships that this organization thrives. It is through relationships that people in faith communities partner with people in need.

Most often, as a result, though not perfectly or completely or without significant effort and sometimes only after repeated epic-scale failures, those partnerships bring progress. Health and housing and recovery and employment, faith and restoration and reconciliation come rolling down. Somehow, we’re always surprised. The Gospel is communicated and received in all directions. And it is through that Vitamin R, for Relationship, that we begin to know our Lord and one another and believe the truth of who He made us to be.

As we’ve seen families housed and made whole, we’ve come to see immeasurably more than we asked or imagined becoming more the rule than the exception.

In Him, with Him, relationships change reality.

Call to Community is founded with the hope of strengthening and putting in place additional caring and intentional relationships between network volunteers and our graduated guests. Beginning with those living in our temporary housing, we will match trained network volunteers with graduated guests and their families. The initial minimum commitment is two face-to-face meetings a month for three months. After that, the relationship can be extended if all parties so desire.

The point of Call to Community is to spend time together building an encouraging relationship that will serve to link the individual and family to other helpful community members and resources.  Our staff will be available to help volunteers know what that time together might look like and will continue providing those graduated guests with weekly case management. Volunteers will not be asked to teach or counsel or police. In fact, we are not referring to Call to Community as a mentoring program because we don’t want this relationship to be hierarchical. Volunteers should expect to receive, as well as to give.

Our hope is that in spending time together in what has been called “the ministry of hanging out,” all parties might grow and be encouraged. Perhaps we can come to see one another more accurately, more the way we are seen by our loving God—filled-to-bursting with the seeds of something very fine.

Please contact me at khdins@gmail.com if you are interested in becoming a Community Partner with Call to Community.

–Katherine Dinsdale