Winter 2023, draft for Bedford House Annual Report
Here we are again at the end of another amazing year of grassroots relationship-growing.
Lots of lessons learned.
- The challenges of being “guided by the voices of under-resourced catalysts” while trying to meet the expectations of an over-resourced world.
- The challenges of not being able to provide “jobs” and only short-term, part-time, no benefits, contracts to our dedicated workers – because we are caught (like so many other small non-profits) trying to offer our service to the community – using the generous (but short term) grants made available by foundations and government sources.
- The challenges of working as a team of both professionals and catalysts. We’ve offered some short-term stability to CCC members, grown their resources and social network, and encouraged their personal and professional growth. That success is also a challenge. As we’ve seen, increased stability means CCC members are ready to grow into real jobs. Their gain is our loss.
- And of course, like the rest of the world, we have experienced the stress, the isolation, the uncertainties of a paradigm-busting pandemic. We’ve experienced the challenges of work to grow relationships of trust; trying to be “down to earth” while in “the cloud”. Even as the pandemic lifts we find ourselves caught between a rock and a hard place. We are all sick of zoom meetings, but still are wary of sharing germs with in-person gatherings.
In Bridges lingo we call this “The Tyranny of the Moment”. Not being able to plan, not sure of having the resources to fulfill any plans I might make, because I’m caught just trying to get through the day, the week, the month.
So, how might we be guided by the wisdom of our under-resourced, and resilient, problem-solving neighbours?
- One day at a time.
- Live simply
- Don’t accumulate unsustainable expenses
- Rely on my network of neighbours to get ‘er done (ask for help and be willing to give it)
- Practice self-care
- Maintain a sense of humour
- Tell stories of resilience and hope with trusted companions
- Nurture my creativity, be childlike, play
- Listen to the ancient ones (we are not alone)
- Count my blessings
Once again we’re entering into a new year not knowing where the funds will come from to sustain the work we’ve begun. It’s a season of pruning. Back to basics. Asking “what is at the root of our work together” and “what can we let go of – for now?”.
How can we trust that while things look cold and dead out our windows, beneath the surface life in all its microscopic, invisible, ways is stirring up those green shoots of spring to come?
Not knowing. It’s a place that calls upon our faith.
- Trusting that the work we do is not ours alone – but that we are part of the Maker’s weaving.
- Trusting that whatever befalls us – we will persevere.
- Trusting that with friends like you – who have faith in what we’re about – we have so much to celebrate, to be thankful for, to keep on keeping on.
One day at a time. One relationship at a time. One world. One love.
And here’s what i ended up submitting at the end of March…still not knowing about 2023 funding beyond April…
Our local economy, our local watershed, is our household.
In our household there are some with more than enough.
In our household there are some with less than enough.
In a consumer culture we forget how to depend on one another.
How might we re-imagine our common good?
How might we, with more than enough,
how might we, with less than enough,
plant the seeds of relationships to grow a community;
an economy, a watershed where
every one of us enjoys opportunities to share…
With the dignity of a guaranteed livable income.
In a household where we share in the abundance
of healthy food, of clean water, of homes for all
of meaningful work.
Where we walk together through times of scarcity.
Where my security depends on our security.
Where a common good invites the sacrifices of
a common purpose.
May we walk together into the calling
of all our relations
where good news for all our kin,
human-kind and all other-kinds
means having enough to simply live.
May those of us who have more than enough,
be inspired to live more simply
so that all our kin may simply live.
Allan David Smith-Reeve