The Micah Initiative
The Spirit has always been alive and at work in this congregation, triggering ideas and inspiring action:
In the Fall of 1970, the Spirit called us to do something about housing in Cleveland Heights and the Home Repair Resource Center was born.
In 2009, the Spirit called us to do something about hunger in Cleveland Heights and Abundance Acres was born.
In 2011 the Spirit called us to do something about racial reconciliation and the Courageous Conversations on Race were born.
In 2011 the Spirit called us to do something about medical needs and poverty in Haiti and the Haiti project was born.
Following the inspiration of these and other projects, we envisioned the Micah Initiative – a project to empower small groups to listen to the Spirit’s calling and follow the words of Micah 6:8 to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.
The church recently received a very special, anonymous, donation of $20,000, for the Ministry of Justice and Mission to distribute into the community. The donors did not say where or how the money should be used but said they would be “particularly pleased to see the money used as seed money for Justice and Mission work initiated by members of our congregation, especially work involving two or more members working in community with each other.”
In that spirit, we gave the first gift to support the exploration trip to Haiti and want the rest to be used by you together in community to help build the kingdom and directly benefit people outside our walls, particularly those experiencing poverty, violence, pain or injustice.
How will this work?
We believe Forest Hill Church will respond with creativity and integrity and love in ways both new and ancient, following the urgings of the Spirit that comforts and agitates us, that calls us to take the truth of everyone’s belovedness out into the world in big and small ways.
Our hope is for the Micah Initiative to help you listen and respond to your heart in new ways. As Frederick Buechner wrote, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Many of you are moved by injustice you see in your daily lives, and care deeply about issues in our larger world. All of you are beautifully gifted and find that life sparkles when you are doing what you love.
Maybe people who love making food will start having friendship meals with our food pantry guests.
Maybe some who love to sing will go caroling in nursing homes.
Maybe those who were moved by their visit to the Middle East will come together to teach us all new ways to take action for peace.
Maybe those who are struck by the Cleveland poverty statistics will join with those who love to read the newspaper and together they’ll start a discussion group with homeless men at 2100 Lakeside.
These are just a few ideas – we know many more exciting possibilities will bubble up. We’re challenging YOU to listen to the Spirit’s urging, discern together in community, and then act. And if you need funds to fuel your dream, you can apply for them.
You can enter this initiative in different ways: You can identify a group, then choose a project. Or you can choose a project, then identify a group.
A group can be as few as two people, as many as ten or twelve – friends, couples, families, social groups, ministries, Pathways classes, the youth group, or just folks who share an interest. Pray individually and together, then develop an idea for a project and present it to the Ministry of Justice and Mission. If you need some money to help make it happen, there’s a simple application to complete. The first round of applications will be reviewed at the beginning of August.
A flyer describing the details of the Initiative can be read here. Note that you can apply for tiny or large grants as needed – maybe, for example, you just need $50 for food or art supplies, or maybe you need a much larger chunk to make your idea happen. Either way, we ask that the proposals show the following, in keeping with the spirit of the original donation:
- A small group (2 or more people) working together in community.
- The project idea (and funding) must benefit people outside of the church, particularly those experiencing poverty, violence, injustice, or any kind of pain.
- Tell us how your actions will be “doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God.” Include a plan to support the projects and small groups spiritually – will you pray together, study scripture, read a spiritual book, reflect together on how this is challenging your faith? This is a final essential part of the process, as we seek to ground ourselves, as John said, to walk humbly with God.
If you have an idea, but feel overwhelmed or confused by the process – please come talk to us or shoot us an email. We are excited to see what happens from here – we want to support and empower these ideas and have resources to share, connections we can make.
You don’t need a big, brand new idea – small, simple actions working together have always brought glimpses of the kingdom. On the other hand, if you do have a big idea, now might be the time to give it a try. So dream big, dream small, but dream – and let the words of Micah and the example of Jesus lead us ever further into justice and joy, love and compassion as we help create the kingdom in this time and place.
Micah Initiative Funding Application
See any member of the Justice & Mission Ministry (Ron Register, Deanne Lentz, Jack Breisch, Barb Cloud, or Jed Koops) with questions or completed applications, place them in the offering plate at church, or give them to any member of the Ministry . If you need any assistance with the application, please let one of them know!
1. Give a brief description of your project and funding request.
2. Who is the small group that will be planning and carrying out the project?
3. How does your project live out the words of Micah 6:8 to “Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God”?
4. How does your project benefit people outside of Forest Hill Church? Is there particular attention given to people experiencing poverty, injustice, violence, or pain? If so, how?
5. How will you support this project with spiritual practices (i.e., prayer, scripture reading, journaling, etc.)?
6. If you anticipate your project will be long term, how will you continue to obtain funds for it beyond the first Micah Initiative grant?