(The Interfaith Committee at Salem College in Winston-Salem spearheaded the effort to have the college affirm the Charter for Compassion.)
Salem College has become the first college in North Carolina, and one of the first in the U.S., to affirm the international, which encourages a compassionate campus community in observance of the Golden Rule; to treat others the way you want to be treated.
Sara Otero, president of the Student Government Association, said that more than 10 percent of Salem’s 541 traditional students signed a resolution affirming the charter and that the school’s Legislative Board approved the decision to endorse the charter. Salem’s Interfaith Council, headed by Otero and senior Keren Salim, played an instrumental role in its adoption by the Student Government Association earlier this month.
The City of Winston-Salem was recognized as the 18th city in the world within the International Campaign for Compassionate Cities movement last July when Mayor Allen Joines and members of city council unanimously affirmed the charter. Approximately 30 cities now are part of the campaign. The local compassionate cities movement is coordinated by Compassionate Winston-Salem, which was organized by Interfaith Winston-Salem in 2012. Compassionate Winston-Salem is developing programs to bring compassionate environments into elementary schools, the workplace and elsewhere, according to coordinator Drea Parker.
“We’re pleased to see students at Salem taking this positive step,” said Parker, also a graduate of Salem. “They are setting a high standard for other colleges and universities by approving the Charter.”
Salem College is the seventh college in the United States to endorse the charter. Others are Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia; Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky; Claremont-Lincoln University in Claremont, California; University of the West in Rosemead, California; Tenzin Gyatso Institute in Berne, New York; and Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Connecticut.
The Charter for Compassion was created in 2010 under the leadership of Karen Armstrong, a leading writer on world religions; His Holiness the Dalai Lama; and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. It calls for everyone to return to the principles of the Golden Rule: to treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.
This information was supplied by Anthony’s Plot, which is doing stellar work in providing overnight accommodations when other shelters have no room at their inns.
11:01pm Feb 13
Greetings from inside First Baptist Church on this snowy winter night. Our city rests a little more easily on a night like tonight because those who are most vulnerable are safe and warm in three of our churches, tended to by some of our church and community members. This night may be one of clearest examples of the work we have done together: whereas Greensboro and Charlotte are scrambling to care for their homeless citizens, leaving church and community groups nervous about what this weather means for the “least of these” in their parishes, we are simply continuing our daily effort to make sure all are cared for as we would want to be. Not often you get to say that finding shelter for 95 homeless people on a snowy and dangerous night is “just another day.” We are thankful.
As I hope you have heard by now, we are making some very exciting changes to the way we have been serving our homeless guests at the overflow shelters. We are sending these emails out to explain what those changes are, and to encourage you to begin talking amongst your congregation or community group about your increasingly important role in this work.
• The Vision: As we often see in our congregations, smaller groups allow for deeper relationships. We think this same approach will help us offer our best care to our shelter guests (and we have seen some evidence of this at Augsburg this winter). By getting our guest numbers lower, we can tend to each person’s needs more directly (and express our love more clearly) and not expend our energy in “crowd control.” Also, state zoning law requires us to have a 20-guest capacity at each shelter. This also will mean smaller groupings (clusters) of congregation and community groups working at a specific location, which will help us to deepen our relationships with one another (and makes us more accountable to each other).
• The Model: Starting Friday, we will have five overflow shelters open, each with less than 20 guests: New Story UMC, First Baptist, Augsburg Lutheran, First Presbyterian, and St Timothy’s Episcopal. Each shelter site has 8-12 congregation and community partners, each of whom are critical to serving their guests. You will probably think of additional congregation or community groups who you would like to involve with your cluster; just make sure they are not already assigned to another cluster. You will also have the support of trained monitors and Anthony’s Plot to help fill in monitor spots as needed. Amongst ourselves, we need to figure out how to feed and shelter these guests each night. This means that you can tell volunteers where and whom they will be serving every night. All food will be served at the shelter site now, and our food needs are down to 20meals/night – this leaves room for thinking about hot meals, if we can work that out.
• The Needs: For those who can view the volunteer calendar, you will notice that there are more calendars and less volunteers listed on each. There is a specific calendar for Location-Feb and another for Location-Mar. We need to become aware of the holes in all of these calendars and begin working to fill them with our folks. In particular, there are overnight holes in the next 2 weeks that we should try to fill if possible. There are updated congregational resources attached to this email that you can use to re-engage your people. (The volunteer brochure is meant to be printed front and back as a “manual” of sorts. It also has a link, though the pages are out of order: http://rlcassidy.net/OS.Volunteer.pdf )
• What’s Next: There is an open meeting about the new cluster-model on Thursday, February 20th at 9am at Centenary UMC. This is a chance to discuss some nuts and bolts stuff, and to encourage clusters to plan a time when you all can meet together – be looking for that information shortly after. But don’t wait to sign people up; we need to get new people on the calendar soon!
Ok, now its up to you all to be active: let’s start talking about what each cluster needs and how we are going to fill them. Thank you for your commitment and investment in this shared work and in the lives of those we are being led to serve.
There’s something to the feeling of connecting with someone in need, offering a smile, a compassionate glance, an easy ear. A group of Compassionate Winston-Salem volunteers got together tonight and did just that. We met at 7pm at Loaves and Fishes (which is in front of the public library on 5th Street) and handed out blankets and protein bars to the people (residents) waiting in line to check in for overnight shelter arranged by Anthony’s Plot.
It took about an hour to get everyone signed in, and then our group split to go one way towards Augsburg Lutheran, the other to First Baptist to help get the residents settled in for the night.
I’m glad my band of compassionate peeps were able to witness and participate in the settling in of the overnight shelter. For that is when the shelter needs the most help. If you are missing something in your life, and feel that volunteering would fill that void, this organization has plenty of opportunities to supplicate your desire. Here’s how an evening at the overnight shelter typically goes:
7pm – 8pm – Check-in at Loaves & Fishes
7:30pm..ish – the Augsburg Lutheran group heads to their shelter
8pm – First Baptist group heads to their shelter
The next hour is spent getting the residents of the shelter checked in*, they get a pillow, mat, blanket, and any extra amenities they might need during the night (socks, wraps, etc). The residents then picked their spot out on the gymnasium floor, and went about the process of ‘setting up house’. Once everyone had been checked in, and for the most part settled, a call for prayer was announced, and over half the residents got up to join in circle to share their prayer. A lot of camaraderie was felt, conversations were had, smiles shared.
9:30pm – is time for Lights out until 5:30am the next morning.
* The shelter is monitored by two paid staff who stay awake the entire night. These two angels are then assisted by two volunteers* who will “split their shift” so that each can get some shut-eye. This is where Anthony’s Plot needs the most help: They need volunteers willing to ‘work’ a split shift from 8pm – 5:30am. If you are interested and want to help out, please email Rev. Russ May at email@example.com. And get ready to experience an abundance of love, compassion, and just good old fashioned hospitality.
When Cindy Jones earned a Master’s degree in Clothing and Textiles from UNC Greensboro, she never expected to be using her education quite like she’s using it today.
“I love to shop, and I’m a good shopper,” she says. “I know clothes. I know good clothes. I know brands.”
Many of those skills can be traced back to her graduate education.
Today, Cindy is using her education as much for the benefit of others as for herself. For the last two years or more she has been using her degree and those talents to buy quality coats for homeless people and for others in need. She doesn’t know exactly how many coats she has bought, but over the past summer she bought at least 100.
Her professors never told her to expect to use the degree like that.
She says her activities are part of the giving spirit fostered by her church, Peace Haven Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. “I have a certain amount of money to spend each month helping others. I take part of what I earn from my booth at Lost in Time Antiques to buy coats,” she says.
“My neighbor, Allen McReynolds, was the inspiration. About two years ago he told me about the great need for men’s coats at The Shalom Project. Allen kept saying ‘we need men’s coats, we need men’s coats,’ so I started looking to help.”
Cindy finds most of the coats at flea markets and thrift stores. She usually is able to find good coats for not more than five dollars, and, because she knows when thrift stores like the Salvation Army have half-price sales, she can find even more affordable deals. She says flea markets and thrift stores are better sources because yard sales can be hit or miss.
Her boyfriend is a folk artist who gets a lot of his ideas from items sold at flea markets, so they travel to flea markets a lot. They drive all over the western half of North Carolina, catching flea markets like Smiley’s in Asheville, in Statesville, Hickory, Lexington, Salisbury, Archdale and Mount Airy, among others. Last year they found several coats at flea markets while visiting in New England.
“Shopping at flea markets works out really well. Sometimes I will tell people that I’m buying for homeless people, and, even though many of them don’t have a lot of money, they will sell to me at a better price because they know the coat will be given to someone who needs it. They are very supportive,” she said.
At McReynolds’ urging, she has added men’s work shoes and boots to her shopping list for The Shalom Project. “It’s harder to find shoes in my price range. The work shoes I see usually cost eight, ten, twelve dollars, but now when I find some at an affordable price I buy them because Allen assures me they will be put to good use,” she says.
There is always a great need for shoes and men’s coats in clothing closets because many men wear clothes to the thread before discarding them. With thermometers beginning to register lower degrees, Cindy Jones’s higher degree will help protect many local homeless and needy men against the winter that is upon us.
Her professors never told her to expect to use the degree like that.
Through Tuesday, Dec. 3 you can double the value of your gifts to The Shalom Project in Winston-Salem. Your gift will support Circles Winston-Salem, a new partnership that helps people build a bridge out of poverty by finding, keeping and advancing employment and stable housing.
The worldwide United Methodist Church, through its Advance Fund of Global Ministries and #GivingTuesday, will match – dollar for dollar – every gift made during that time. For every $20 you give, The Shalom Project will receive $40.
You have two options for doubling your gift:
- On Tuesday, Dec. 3 go to http://www.umcmission.org/Give-to-Mission/Search-for-Projects/Projects/3021241 When you choose Green Street United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, your gift will be directed to The Shalom Project for Circles WS.
- Send or bring a check or cash for Circles WS to The Shalom Project office at 639 S. Green St. before Tuesday, Dec. 3.
When we understand Kwanzaa, we understand more about our neighbors.
City-Wide Kwanzaa Celebration
December 26 – January 1
A Celebration of Family,
Community and Culture
Free and Open to the Public!!!
Thursday, December 26 Umoja (Unity)
6:30 pm – The Urban League, 201 West 5th Street, Winston-Salem
Theme: Living In Harmony With Those Inside and Outside My Circle
Sponsor: Winston-Salem Urban League Contact: 336-725-5614
Friday, December 27 Kujichagulia (Self Determination)
6:30 pm – Delta Arts Center, 2611 New Walkertown Rd, Winston-Salem
Theme: Doing All That Is Set Before Me
Sponsors: Delta Fine Arts, Inc. & Triad Cultural Arts, Inc. Contact: 336-473-2082
Saturday, December 28 Ujima (Collective Works and Responsibility)
4:00 pm – Emmanuel Baptist Church, Shalimar Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Theme: Never Leaving My Brother or Sister Unaided
Sponsors: The Whole Village & Emmanuel Baptist Church Contact: 252-204-7487
Sunday, December 29 Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
3:00 pm – 6:00 pm – Carl Russell Recreation Center, 3521 Carver Road, Winston-Salem
Theme: Using My Talents in Cooperation with The Talents of Others So Together We May Prosper
Sponsors: Carl Russell Recreation Center & Victory In Life Contact: 336-727-2580
Monday, December 30 Nia (Purpose)
6:00 pm – Grace Presbyterian Church, 3901 Carver School Road, Winston-Salem
Theme: Finding My Path and Purpose Through Prayer, Meditation and Spiritual Readings
Sponsor: Grace Presbyterian Church Contact: 336-722-4399, 767-7530
Tuesday, December 31 Kuumba (Creativity)
1:00 pm – Arts Council Theatre, 610 Coliseum Drive, Winston-Salem
Theme: Freeing Myself to Experience New Ideas, New Viewpoints, New Philosophies, New Understandings
Sponsors: NC Black Repertory Theatre Company & Forsyth County Public Library
Wednesday, January 1 Imani (Faith)
4:00 pm – Alpha and Omega Church of Faith, 1445 N Gray Ave, Winston-Salem
Theme: Sweeping Away Fear of the Unknown, Past Regrets, Concerns for the Future
and Meeting Each Day with Active Faith
Sponsors: Alpha and Omega Church of Faith & St. Philips Heritage Center
For More Information visit the website: http://www.triadculturalarts.org
Triad Cultural Arts, Inc. – Winston-Salem, NC – 336-757-8556
Children and youth attending the Festival of Faith and Culture Nov. 10 shared the following dreams, using imagination installations’ “imagine when” exercise:
Imagine when “everyone liked you!” Hailey
Imagine when “everyone lives together.” Isaiah
Imagine when “everyone lived forever.” Elijah
Imagine when “there is no school!!!!!!!”
Imagine when “everybody helps each other.” Lily
Imagine when “nobody disagreed over anything – no wars.” Anna
Imagine when “I want to be the first kid programmer.” Mustapha
Imagine when “there is a world with no hate.” Sarvesh
Imagine when…”not to have trash all over the place.” Mohamed
Imagine when “there is no violence.”
Imagine when “everybody was treated right.” Niara
Imagine when “everybody was happy.” Alma
Imagine when “everyone is happy.” Abdul
Imagine when “people are nice to you.” Carmen Tre Scott
Imagine when “all people are welcome.” Elisabeth
Imagine when…”I want peace.”
Imagine when “brothers and sisters did not fight.” Alyssa
Imagine when “everybody loves everybody.” Lee and Alex
Winston-Salem’s city-wide Kwanzaa celebration will be observed Dec. 26 through January 1 at locations across the city. All of the events are free and open to the public.
Visitors to Compassionate Winston-Salem’s booth at Saturday’s PRIDE Winston-Salem Festival brought their imaginations. Using the Imagination Installations “imagine when” project, they shared their dreams. We imagine when:
“No freedom ‘til we are equal.” Charla Jayde
“Everyone accepts and loves one another.”
“The earth is but one country and humankind its citizens.”:
“Help people.” Andy
“Peace Reigns.” Paul
“We all can have equality and equal rights for everyone.” Alicia Bundy
“Every action is determined by and with love.” Kevin Mundy
“When people accept, respect and embrace difference.” Seneca
“It’s about hearts, not parts.”
“We could all get along. We are all God’s children.”
“Peace makes the world go round.”
“Judging is light to a higher being.”
“The world is free of discrimination.”
“It will not be gay marriage. It will be called marriage.”
“Our differences are celebrated.” Sandy
“Love rules.” T. Ward
“Light overcomes darkness.”
“Compassion and understanding.” John
“There is no hate, only love.”
“Love conquers hate.”
“Love others as you love yourselves.” Chaz
“Your Momma knows you’re at Pride.” Betsy
“You can be exactly who you are!” Latoya D. Cheek
“Building bridges are more prevalent than building road blocks.”
“We all treat each other with kindness.” Deborah