Thursday, May 31, 2007

Women in Art

Just because it is lovely.

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

A Christian Craig's List

Fr Mike over at Intentional Disciples posted about an interesting online tool for parishes interested in becoming more philanthropically active. Fr Mike writes:

Craigslist is a centralized network of online urban communities, featuring free classified advertisements (with jobs, internships, housing, personals, for sale/barter/wanted, services, community, gigs and resumes categories) and forums sorted by various topics.

It was founded in 1995 by Craig Newmark for the San Francisco Bay Area, and as of November 2006, Craigslist had established itself in approximately 450 cities all over the world.

Sam, the Chief Operating Officer at Holy Apostles parish here in Colorado Springs turned me on to a very interesting and potentially useful tool for parishes similar to Craig's List. It might be valuable for parishes that are trying to move into a more 'mission focused' ministry.

Ark Almighty is connected to the new movie, Evan Almighty, which apparently is about God calling a character from the Bruce Almighty movie to become a contemporary Noah, complete with heavy beard and plans for an ark. Youth Specialties, Willow Creek Association and the International Bible Society, three religious groups apparently within the evangelical world, partnered with Universal Pictures and Grace Hill Media to shape the ArkAlmighty program.

The website is linked in the title of this post.

THE INSPIRATION: "Doing kind deeds for others isn’t a new phenomenon. Fourteen years ago, Pastor Steve Sjogren inspired thousands of people to engage in random acts of kindness in his ground-breaking book, Conspiracy of Kindness: A Refreshing New Approach to Sharing the Love of Jesus with Others. The book ignited a flurry of selfless, unexpected acts of kindness intended to help others understand God’s gift of love and grace to all people.

ArkALMIGHTY takes Sjogren’s ideas one step further by actively seeking out people in need and connecting them with those who are willing to help. Inspired by the themes in the upcoming film, Evan Almighty, ArkALMIGHTY seeks to follow God’s call for Christians to always do good - to friends, to neighbors, to family members, to strangers, even to those who don’t like us.

What makes ArkALMIGHTY unique is that it harnesses the power of the internet to effortlessly match needs with the skill sets of everyday people. The impact of ArkALMIGHTY is boundless – first by meeting the needs within the church, it can easily expand its reach into neighborhoods, communities, and beyond."

The idea behind the website is that church communities can sign up and have their own page in which parishioners or people from the local community can post requests for help, ranging from walking the family dog, helping repair a fence, to forming a prayer group. People in your church community can see the requests and then respond with offers of help.

Sam showed me the free starter kit that he was sent - a 3x6 foot vinyl banner, four t-shirts, four baseball caps, 200 door hangers, 200 flyers, a bunch of small buttons, a CD with instructions, a BOOK, a teen's guide to arkalmighty, etc. He was astounded at the haul - probably worth $100.00, he estimates.

"There's some money behind this," he said. I have to agree. I mean it's not every website that has John Goodman walk across the page and make a pitch to "get involved."

This seems to be a new way of promoting a movie, one that actually helps people in the process. It's also a very media-savvy way for churches to reach out to the unchurched. Included in the website are some "success stories" in which people tell how they benefited from the kindness of others through the website.

Check it out!