Spiritual Listening With People on the Margins

I want to tell you today about an organization I hope you will be willing to support. It is called City House and I feel very strongly about its work – strong enough that I both support it financially and sit on its board of directors. Some of you who I personally know may have already gotten a letter from me asking for your support (and more of you will).

The core mission of City House is to provide spiritual listening to people on the margins – including those experiencing poverty, addiction, and imprisonment. Trained volunteer Spiritual Companions meet one-on-one or in groups with participants at social service agency sites where they live or are receiving services. City House also offers a spiritual friendship program and leadership development for people in the mainstream who want to deepen their relationship with those experiencing life at the margins.

As most of you know, I have been a spiritual director and a retreat leader for a number of years. I have seen the difference it makes in people’s lives – people of all faiths and people of no faith – to have someone to whom they can tell their story, someone who will listen fully to them without judgment and with an open heart.

All the more important is this encounter to the people served by City House. In the words of the director of one of the social service agencies with which we work, “The social service system sees our tenants in terms of their deficits; City House does not do that. City House sees them for what they have to offer, for their innate spirit and for what they can give back to society. Sometimes this is the first time someone has seen them like that.”

City House brings non-judgmental, compassionate listening to those who are feeling their brokenness, transmits wisdom across boundaries of culture and economic disparity, and connects people in the mainstream and margin. Among other things, this makes it part of the solution in a culture of polarized viewpoints and demographic segregation.

City House relies on volunteers for much of its work – including the service by its board members, who receive no compensation for our time. But running it does require funds for paying it small staff, conducting training of its listeners, and paying various costs associated with City House operation and the programs it sponsors.

Many of you have been reading my blog for several years and have written to me telling me how much you have benefitted from my posts and podcasts. Many of you have remotely participated in retreats I’ve given, using the prayer material and podcasts I freely make available.

I am asking you to consider making a donation to City House. You can make a donation on-line or by check. If you prefer an on-line donation, please visit the City House website and click on the Donate button at the bottom of the home page. Alternatively, you can send a check payable to City House and mail it to City House at 1730 New Brighton Blvd #253, Minneapolis MN 55413-1248. A donation in any size would make an enormous difference to the work we can do.

Thank you for considering this.

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