December Letter from Executive Director Kelsey Rice Bogdan

I woke up to the news on November 9th of the election results with shock and pain-- pain at the deep fault lines it revealed within our nation, pain for those who fear the future for themselves or those they love. And pain at my own failures to build bridges with people I know, people I love deeply, even, who don’t understand the lived experiences informing that fear. The “dividing walls of hostility” felt impossibly high that day.

Maybe that’s why, happening to be in Brookline Village that afternoon, I was drawn to stop by my home church completely unannounced. Above all, I wanted to be with my community, to find a wellspring of hope that I couldn’t generate alone. And that same spirit, that same hunger for community, drew others together, too, this November. It drew Life Together fellow Eliza Marth to travel to Standing Rock alongside others from our community to support the indigenous Water Protectors taking action there. It drew a large group of our alumni and fellows together to organize in support of Movimiento Cosecha, fighting for undocumented immigrants in this country. These alumni are actively working to build a Sanctuary movement within the Episcopal Church. It drew together the girls our fellows serve at Esperanza Academy in Lawrence, who are, as fellow Cullen Dolson shares in his reflection this month, countering fear with love and action.

We’re waiting for a lot of things in this Advent season, and we don’t know what 2017 will bring. But the work and witness of our community-- at Standing Rock, with Cosecha, day in and day out at site placements and in intentional community-- is a light shining in that darkness. And as alumna Isabelle Jenkins tells us, the messy, imperfect cracks in our everyday work for justice are also where the light gets into our lives and our world. I pray in this Advent season that you will venture into those places of greatest darkness and let your light, your beautiful, courageous, Spirit-filled light, shine.