As you and I have so often walked together we have talked and dreamt of many things. “The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—Of cabbages—and kings—And why the sea is boiling hot—And whether pigs have wings.”
This past Sunday we enjoyed and rejoiced in the Feast of St. Anna. In it, we declared that it was a new day! We talked of many things. The Gospel reading was that intriguing, for some fanciful, telling of the Annunciation; the coming of the angel Gabriel to Mary telling of her future as the mother of Jesus. It is, I believe, not intended to be historical or factual, but rather a spiritual centering of the holiness of Jesus in the telling of his story by Luke. So, with that as a launching point we, this past Sunday, talked of many things.
We introduced a team that would lead our Anna’s Place NOLA program for the next decade, and in doing so will reach, teach, love, and let soar the young minds of kids who have it rough. I mean kids that have drifted over to Mr. Darryl the founder of Anna’s Place saying in a low voice, “Ya know my Momma’s boyfriend got shot in the stomach last night.” Then drift back into the class with not much more to say or express. That isn’t always the story but too often it is.
YOU are an important part of this work. Yes YOU! You help support the feeding of the hungry and neglected. You help provide food, t-shirts, socks, and care bags to the homeless. The Pub, Phoenix, Friendly Bar, Mag’s, Winter Wonderland, Lord’s of Leather, Amon Ra, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Renegade Bears, Princess Stephanie, PRIDE, The Golden Lantern, Decadence and so many others. All have played a role in helping children who are poor, who are neglected, or whose parents are so stressed by poverty they can’t tend to the needs of their children.
St. Anna’s isn’t just a building on Esplanade. It is a concept. It is a thought. It is a community larger than its urban footprint.
Well, we need some help. I think that some of you can help. Here is what we need.
We need a rotating Krewe that will purchase groceries then stock the shelves for our feeding ministry. We will pay for the food and give you the grocery list. You provide the transportation and strong arms and backs to buy the food, sort it, and stock the shelves.
We need helpers to prepare the bags, to prepare homeless care packets, about twice a month.
We need two people to help our Chaplain to the Homeless bring those same bags out early on weekends and just hang out with him while they are distributed twice a month.
We need volunteers to help with our after-school program one or two days a week mostly to show a little care and a little attention to those kids I talked about. Perhaps you have been a teacher in a past life. No pay but lots of benefits.
What I am hoping for is that two or three organizations might consider partnering with Anna’s Place NOLA to do this work as a “Community Service” project. Perhaps a community that hangs out in a particular bar may want to represent that bar and volunteer to help us out. Perhaps a Krewe or perhaps a troupe of Drag Queens might want to contribute a day or two a month to help us out.
WE LOVE YOU and want you to join us in service to the larger community. In turn, we want to be of more service to the LBGTQ+ community. So, if you have a great idea that will serve the larger community and you need a space and place — talk to us. We want to be of service. One thing we have is a building that is good for meetings, a church that is suitable for a concert, a place that is, above all, safe and accepting. We want you and need you.
Why do we need you? UBUNTU! This word is part of a Zulu proverb that says, “I am a person through other people. My humanity is tied to yours.” It essentially conveys the idea that a person cannot be complete if others do not enjoy full humanity. We fully believe that this is true. While we cannot confront and change all the challenges of this world (corruption, misogyny, homophobia, homelessness, urban violence, racism, and even spitefulness), we can eradicate some of it. If some of these evils are destroyed, even temporarily, the larger and more focused community are elevated to a better place. If we keep on keeping on, change does happen and that change can be focused and forceful.
Like the originators of PRIDE, like Harvey Milk, like Dr. King, like #MeToo, like Black Lives Matter, all imperfect yet contributing to the larger context which in turn leads to better lives for all of us. UBUNTU!
So, if you or your community can pitch in, that would be great! The real upside for us is that we get to know you and appreciate you even more than we do now.
If you’d like to find out more about volunteer opportunities or community service, please drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the office at 504-947-2121
We will so look forward to talking with you and working with you. By the way, if you need anything, don’t hesitate to call us. We are here to serve the larger community and this Community within Communities. PEACE- OUT.