One After Another

One After Another

Have you ever been a part of something historic and experienced that moment when you think, “Wow, I am so glad that I got to be a part of that!”? I am thinking of truly historic culture defining moments like, the moon landing, the fall of the Berlin wall, the first Free Willy movie, and now Summit’s 2017 Backpack Drive.

For Her: Walking Together

For Her: Walking Together

When I showed up last summer for the first night of For Her, I expected it to be a good opportunity to hear from some of the prominent female voices in our congregation and to hangout with my girlfriends. But I did not expect to feel so deeply understood and seen in a room full of women.

Quick To Forget

Quick To Forget

I’m going to be honest... this spring the Connect group I am a part of did an in-depth study of the book of James chapter-by-chapter. It was amazing. However, when we found out that Summit was doing a summer long series on the book of James there was a little (or maybe a big) moan of “oh man…we just did that!”

               My friend, Maria, is a social worker for an elementary school in a distressed neighborhood outside of Atlanta. At the end of this last school year, a third grade girl was brought to her office after having a melt down. The girl had always been a good student and never had any behavioral problems. The teacher’s aide escorting her in said that the young girl had been found crying in the bathroom clutching her backpack.  That backpack was still held tightly in front of her as the girl held back tears. My friend sat the little girl down and asked her what was wrong. After a few questions and assurances that she wasn’t in trouble, the girl said she had fallen and the backpack had ripped at the seams. Maria, knowing the girl was usually even-tempered, asked the girl why the backpack meant so much to her. That sweet child revealed that her family was living in a hotel, sometimes their van, and her parents wouldn’t be able to get her a new one. In that moment, Maria was filled with a deep grief as she understood that the girl’s backpack was one of the few things that was truly  hers.   We know that there are thousands of children like that little girl here in Orlando. Not having the basic tools to participate fully in classes from day one is a hardship that can warp the normal excitement for the start of a new school year into full blown anxiety.  Lingering on Maria’s story, I thought about the special relationship that children have with their backpacks. All of us who went to school remember owning one and all the ways that we would make it ours. From selecting a cool pattern (when I was in middle school, the blue, green  or  black Jansport) to patches and other decoration, we could always identify ours at a glance. A backpack is a practical tool of the trade for being a student and is one of the few things that will stay constant as so much else might change in a year.  This small but powerful truth is part of why I’m so grateful that we do our  Backpack Drive  and that we are extending our reach to children of resettled refugee families locally.      
   
     “ To us, a backpack is a practical gift, but to a child who often carries such huge burdens, a backpack can be precious. ” 
   
  
      Over the last few years I’ve watched so much coverage on the refugee crisis happening and one thing has struck me in the waves of people fleeing toward safety: the further away from what used to be home, the more likely a family has stripped down to what each person can carry. There are so many battered backpacks, holding what matters most. Sometimes the bag is the only personal possession left and it carries only necessities for survival. Much like the torn bag clutched by a little girl crying in my friend’s office, those sturdy canvas vessels are extremely precious to those who carry them and have lost so much.  As adults, we sometimes forget how it may feel to be as vulnerable as a child. If we’re lucky, our parents had jobs that were secure and we grew up far from poverty, violence, and war. The reality, though, is that when poverty, violence, or war visit a community, children take the brunt of the consequences and have so little power to change their situation. To us, a backpack is a practical gift, but to a child who often carries such huge burdens, a backpack can be precious.                              Our Backpack Drive is wrapping up this weekend and we need your help to reach our goal of 500! If you haven't had a chance to yet, check out the  shopping list,  head to Target (it's OK, we're giving you permission to go to Target), and give a child in our community the opportunity to have something that is truly theirs this school year.    Liz Cronlund is the Community Development Coordinator for Summit Church. If you would like more information about ways you can be a part of serving our city, email her at  ecronlund@summitconnect.org.          

My friend, Maria, is a social worker for an elementary school in a distressed neighborhood outside of Atlanta. At the end of this last school year, a third grade girl was brought to her office after having a melt down. The girl had always been a good student and never had any behavioral problems. The teacher’s aide escorting her in said that the young girl had been found crying in the bathroom clutching her backpack.

Faith Come Alive

Faith Come Alive

When I first accepted Jesus into my heart, I experienced a supernatural peace that defied all logic or understanding. It went to the very core of my being and I knew that there was a God who loved me and that my sins and guilt were washed clean.

My Do-Not-Do List

My Do-Not-Do List

I often viewed Christianity as simply one giant do-not-do list. Stay away from doing X, Y, and Z and you’ll be in favor with God. I suspect much of the outside world views Christianity in this same light as well.

IJM Orlando Prayer Gathering

IJM Orlando Prayer Gathering

At the IJM Orlando Prayer Gathering, we got to hear about the work that’s happening to end slavery and we had the opportunity to pray for some specific issues IJM is facing around the world. Whether or not you were able to make it, these are the things that were prayed for and we will continue to pray for.

The Way Out

The Way Out

James is a countercultural letter. That much is clear from the very outset: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…”? I mean, come on, James, you don’t know what I’ve been through! I actually had a really good reason to not consider it pure joy.

Raising Parents

Raising Parents

My husband, Aaron, and I became parents in March of this year and we felt as prepared as we possibly could. My undergraduate degree is in psychology, when I was growing up my job was always as a babysitter, and I’ve spent the past ten years working in children’s and student ministries. I’ve basically had as much exposure to children and parents as a person could possibly have without being an expert in the field.

Poverty

Poverty

Although born near Chicago, a portion of my early childhood was spent with my mother’s family in a small village in The Philippines. By western standards, most of our village was extremely poor. Truth was, each family didn’t own very much and alone some would not have survived. Because we did life together, though, we thrived. I was never hungry nor did I feel unprotected (even with some wild animals for neighbors). Our community was living in abundance without much stuff.