Note: I was given a month of sabbatical time away from my work at Love Wins in September, in order to rest and write. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I am going to have to fund some of the expenses myself, and we just don’t have it. So this post is me, asking for help.
I had originally planned to post this as a gofundme, but a) those fees, y’all and b) I screwed something up and they are investigating whatever I did. So I thought I would just post it here.
At the end of this post is a series of ways you can contribute, if you wish. – Thx!
Nearly 10 years ago, I founded Love Wins Ministries, a small ministry of presence and pastoral care for those experiencing homelessness here in Raleigh, NC. During that time, we have created an intentionally diverse, open and affirming worshiping community made up of people who are housed and people who aren’t that meets every week, following a huge community meal.
About five years ago, we realized that being homeless means you have nowhere you are allowed to be, and that the opposite of homelessness is community. So we created the Love Wins Community Engagement Center, a place of radical welcome and hospitality for people experiencing homelessness to go during the day. A place they can be loved, be welcome and build community.
In 2013, the City of Raleigh threatened to arrest me, and people like me, for sharing food with hungry people in the park. That started a nearly yearlong struggle we termed #Biscuitgate that ended in our favor, with the end result being The Oak City Outreach Center, which has provided nearly 200,000 meals to hungry people in the last two years.
And last August, my wife had a heart transplant, for which we are extremely grateful, but which can disrupt your life just a little bit. It was a time of incredible stress, and wiped us out financially, from which we still haven’t recovered.
And all of that has left me emotionally and physically drained.
I’m tired, y’all.
I don’t make a lot of money (I’m ten years into this work, and in my state a brand new, right out of school 24 year old elementary school teacher makes more per month than I do), but I need some downtime. I need a time of renewal, a time to work on the vision for what the next ten years of ministry will look like, and a time to pay attention to my own self-care.
Love Wins Ministries doesn’t really have the funds to cover much – we are very grass-roots, with no denominational or grant support, and all of our funding coming from individual donors (Our average gift is under $50). We are now in a position, with staffing and funding, to give me a month away from the day-to-day, so that I can have some time to reflect and to write in order to plan the direction of our next ten years.
I intend to spend this time of Sabbath, spent reading and writing, which are my preferred self-care techniques. Thanks to some generous supporters, my wife and I will be spending five days in a condo at Carolina Beach, followed by another seven days at Jekyll Island in Georgia. I will spend my mornings writing, and my afternoons getting caught up on my reading, preferably while listening to waves crash against the shore.
Then we will come home, and I will fly out to California for a three day writer’s retreat some people I know are putting on, and then I will return home. The rest of the month will be spent with me taking care of myself, while continuing to write and read and plan here at my home in Raleigh.
The beach condo’s are gifts from supporters, and thus don’t really cost us anything. The flight to California and the writer’s retreat registration fee has been covered. The $2400 I am still raising money for is to cover:
- $1360 for food while I am traveling
- $500 for lodging while in California
- $610 for travel costs to Carolina Beach and Jekyll Island
Should the place to stay while in California come through, that would reduce the goal by the $500 I have budgeted.
So, you are asking for us to fund your vacation?
Nope. This is a time of writing, reading and renewal. I don’t want to burn out, and the only way I can keep going is to stop and recharge. And at the end of this time away, there will be a book manuscript to show for it, as well as a well-rested, recharged, Hugh. If it makes you feel better, call it writing leave.
Dude. You’re writing a book?
Yes! I will be writing a (yet to be titled) 35,000 word Love Wins manifesto on Hospitality. It will be built around the six principles of Hospitality we have identified at Love Wins Ministries, and is basically a “how and why we did it.” It will show a way to battle the social ills of the world (such as homelessness and hunger) by building communities and extending hospitality.
You’re writing 35,000 words in 30 days?
Well, about a third of it is already written, and most of the rest of it is outlined. My goal at the end of this time is a useable manuscript.
I’m broke. How else can I help?
Thanks for asking!
- You can share this blog post with your friends.
- You can pray for us that this will be a fruitful and generative time, or if you don’t pray, we will take happy thoughts and good mojo, too!
- Since this is a time of discernment about what is happening next for me and the ministry, if my work has impacted or inspired you, I would appreciate your writing me an email (hughlh at gmail) to tell me about it.
How to help
The easiest way is to send funds via PayPal. Should you wish to send an old-school check, you can send it to:
PO Box 26874
Raleigh, NC 27611
*If you need a tax receipt for your donation, please email me (hughlh at gmail) before you send money.
Thank you. Seriously.
I hate asking for help, but I really need this time away. My soul hurts, y’all. Thank you so much for your help, and know that I really, really appreciate it.