A Note from Luke: A Review and Invitation
As we turn into 2024 I look back over this last year with a great deal of pride in our community, our decisions, prioritizing, our praying, playing, our grieving, and celebrating.
I give thanks for all that we have lived this last year, how we have been shaped by our experiences and gifts, our needs and challenges.
I have had the privilege these last years to hear from many of you of the loneliness and disconnection that we face in our lives. I have listened to the deep need in our world for more L’Arche and more of our values–it has highlighted that in our Greater Washington D.C. area there is a real need for connection.
Our 2023-2028 Mandate offers a direction for us to follow–to guide us and challenge us. The mandate written by community offers 3 main areas:
1. Strengthen Relationships and Structures Within Our Homes and Community…
2. Cultivate Relationships with New and Long-Term Friends…
3. Imagine New and Innovative Ways to Grow in the Spirit of L’Arche
The Mandate specifically “calls us to cultivate relationships with new and old friends. And it calls us to imagine new, purposeful, and innovative ways to grow in the spirit of L’Arche.”
So I am delighted to announce that later this month we will be launching a new program. The Community Connections Program, a monthly gathering designed by and for people with and without intellectual disabilities. The program comes at a time when there is a real need for connection and we hope to facilitate open and simple spaces where each person can share in meaningful and life giving ways.
I am also happy to reintroduce the work of the Inclusion Party Team, a small but mighty team in the community that calls and inspires all across the community to consider and implement more robust inclusive practices. The team headed by Kelly, Joseph, Lauren, and others is looking to reshape its future in line with our mandate and this coming year. Look out for more information from them as to how they are going to be doing this.
I think of the impactful work of the Diversity Commission in offering spaces to be heard, critiquing policy and practices, and implementing changes. All for the better of our community, our people, and way of life.
Our committees are important places that shape our lives and hold us to accountability. Each of them–
✦ Hospitality committee,
✦ Solidarity committee, and
✦ Spiritual Life committee
–provide a framework for each of us to offer our gifts in shaping our community life.
Could you imagine L’Arche GWDC without our Christmas Party hosted by the Hospitality committee, or Advent Retreat hosted by the Spiritual Life committee, or SolidariDay by Solidarity committee?
Well, without you showing up, sharing your gifts, and leading this could be very well the case.
So, I encourage you to consider how you can reach and stretch this year in sharing your gifts, time, resources, and connections in any of the spaces.
In our new Charter we state:
3.6 In both our community life and our professional support we strive for greater competence and shared learning. Living and serving in community invites us to know ourselves and each other more truthfully.
3.7 Our practices go hand in hand with our values and give expression to our spirituality and search for meaning.
So I invite you in 2024 to pause and consider:
How can I serve?
Who could I be in L’Arche GWDC?
Please know that you are always welcome with us, we need you and your prayers and as Eileen shared recently: “come over to the house, go out to dinner with us. And they can have some tea with us.”
In peace and gratitude,