We Belong Together

June 17, 2020

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong together.” Mother Teresa spoke this message of love and compassion and I can’t stop thinking about how powerful and urgent this message is today. How do we open up sacred space for creating intentional relationships with others? Especially with those who too often have experienced injustice and inequality because of the color of their skin? If we truly embrace that we belong together, our relationships will be based on vulnerability, mutuality, and a willingness to engage in open dialogue, all within a spirit of cultural humility. One of our core values, Cultural Humility is based on these three principles:

• Commitment to lifelong learning and critical self-reflection
• Recognizing and changing power imbalances for respectful relationships
• Creating institutional accountability

Organizations and churches who serve families facing homelessness within a spirit of cultural humility invite families to speak to their own story and create their own future. This includes understanding the racial, economic, and housing disparities that affect the families being served. According to a recent report from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, African Americans comprise 14% of the general population, yet make up 40% of the population experiencing homelessness.

Volunteers can also be guided by cultural humility to discover, value and celebrate perspectives, experiences, traditions and choices that are different than their own. Families facing homelessness can sometimes feel that they don’t belong, and a compassionate, informed support network, in addition to professional services, can help balance racial and economic disparities and impact broader change.

Like the Good Samaritan, it is our calling to cross the road for those in need of care, mercy and belonging. Through a spirit of vulnerability and humility, we can help families facing homelessness find their voice and stand with them for change and stability. We call it Neighboring.

What might Neighboring look like for your nonprofit or congregation? Let’s talk.

Blessings and peace,

Anne Dunnenberger
Director of Outreach

We Belong Together