Consider a Gift to LUM This Christmas Season
I come into the peace of wild things
Who do not tax their lives
With forethought of grief…
I rest in the grace of the world,
And am free.
This poem by Wendell Berry has been instructive to me in recent years. When I feel anxious and despairing, it reminds me to keep a bigger perspective. At times I have actually put the words of this poem into practice. I have dropped everything, ventured out into the natural world, observed the peace of wild things, and found my heart quieted and reassured.
At Christmas, I celebrate the faith that this grace of the world is not some vague cosmic force but has a name and a human face. Christmas is the celebration that the grace of the world has taken human form, bringing us everlasting peace, rest, and freedom.
In this, my first year at Lafayette Urban Ministry, I have observed the grace of the world making a difference through our work together. As a faith-based, community-wide effort tackling basic human needs and uplifting the people of Greater Lafayette, LUM has risen to the unique challenges of 2020 and continues to serve people every day and every night.
So far this year, Lafayette Urban Ministry served 2,735 households through one of our 22 programs.
- Emergency Shelter continues to offer compassion while serving people experiencing homelessness in our community. The overnight shelter and Winter Warming Station have provided 6,780 bed-nights of safe, emergency housing in 2020.
- 5th Quarter Summer Learning Program, enhanced After School Program, and LUM Camp positively impacted the lives of 196 children.
- Good Samaritan Program has aided 1,550 families this year, channeling more than $192,000 to families who are in the midst of eviction, utility disconnects, or health care or transportation emergencies.
- Immigration Clinic served 145 individuals, ID Clinic served 122 clients, the Protein Food Pantry had 1,669 visits, and Tax Assistance Program served 258 low-income workers in 2020. Community Thanksgiving Feast served more than 750 meals, and Jubilee Christmas will bring joy tomorrow morning to 1,499 children from 525 local families!
These statistics would be impressive in any given year. In this tremendously tumultuous 2020, these numbers underscore the grit and generosity of people such as yourself — people who have not been frozen by forethought of grief but instead have doggedly decided to think of those less fortunate than themselves.
In the spirit of peace, rest, and freedom for this Christmas season, I hope that you will support the important work of Lafayette Urban Ministry with a financial gift. Your contribution of $50, $100, $250, $500, or $1,000 will be used to alleviate the needs of children and their families, right here in our own community.
I have included below Wendell Berry’s poem The Peace of Wild Things. I send it along with a prayer that you will experience the peace of wild things and may rest in the grace of the world. Thank you very much for the great kindness you have consistently shown toward those LUM serves. May peace, rest and freedom be yours this Christmas season. Merry Christmas!
With sincere gratitude,
Lafayette Urban Ministry
The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water,
and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.