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June 2020 – Michele Van Son Neill

Year 3: Concluding Blog

We are always living history.  Yet, there are moments – like this one – that will become a major Chapter Title of our Nation’s Story. Have you noticed that triumphs of the human spirit are always tucked in a tapestry of death and destruction? Women secured the right to vote on the heels of a bloody World War I. The Civil Rights Act became law against the backdrop of the 20-year Vietnam War. Today, the long-awaited public acknowledgement and conviction of systemic racism has a voice and willing audience against the backdrop of a global pandemic. Tucked into a larger tapestry of life’s greatest struggles are always the triumphs of human dignity and the human spirit.

Crave claims that at the intersection of triumph and tragedy is a story of Divine Hope.  A Hope that is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. Crave was founded on the crazy Christian idea that Hope was in our world from the beginning…and this Divine Hope continues to show up in real time: not just in a stable under a star at Christmas, but also in lonely hospital rooms, empty classrooms, unemployment lines, unjust jail cells, marches, riots…and yes, even and especially at funerals when too often a black or brown life is senselessly taken.  No matter the tragedy, (racism, poverty, hunger, homelessness, etc.) Divine Hope always stands her ground and has the last word.

As a Christian, I used to believe in Divine Hope only because of my faith in Jesus.  But in the last three years, I have also met 27 Crave Leaders who embody –they actually incarnate – Divine Hope.  Yes, of course they are launching, nurturing, and growing non-profits as a response to our tragedies, but the Divine Hope needed today requires more than investors, a Board of Directors, and legal status.  Divine Hope takes guts, sacrifice, street knowledge, accountability, charisma, and an unshakable vision that defines your purpose.  Crave Leaders are bursting with Divine Hope.

This month, we graduate our third class of Crave Leaders, and Reverend Shelly Denmark replaces me as Director.  The only thing as exciting as what God is doing through Crave, is who God has chosen to lead it into the future.  Karen Winterkamp and Shelly Denmark, our staff, bring as much skill and ability as they do commitment to and passion for developing divinely inspired leaders of social change. This next year, I am honored to serve on the Board of Directors with a Rockstar line-up, as well as support the tireless and talented Advisory Council who manages the operations of our soulful learning community. This company of volunteers, our community partners, and especially our new financial supporters (thank you, Donors!) have collectively cultivated a “Crave Family” of courageous vulnerability, authentic self-mastery, and divine discovery in diversity.And what I want the whole world to know – the Good News I want to share with you – is that their Divine Hope is contagious. When you meet Crave Leaders, learn about their projects, the people they serve and why – you have an ally, a light-bearer to show you ways to illuminate the darkest parts of our broken tapestry. You can volunteer with them, you can build relationships with and through them, and you can make a positive divine impact in our community right now. They will show you how. Apply to Crave here.  Donate here. Volunteer here. Learn more about Crave and our Leaders here.

Being a part of the Crave Community remains one of the greatest blessings of my life. God is indeed doing a new thing, and we hope you’ll join us.

Tags: Karen Winterkamp, Michele Van Son Neill, Shelly Denmark

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Thank you to the following generous donors:

CRAVE CHAMPIONS ($20,000 +)

Susan H. Marcy & Wilbur H. Marcy Trust, Winter Park FL

Dean and Jill Bosco and Family, Orlando FL

Davidson Family Foundation, San Jose CA

Bill Walker and Rev. Debbie McLeod, Winter Park, FL

 

CRAVE CHEERLEADERS ($2,000 +)

Rev. Michele Van Son and Rob Neill and Family, Winter Park FL

Ivor and Mary Scott Singer, Winter Park FL

Future Generations Fund, Lakeland FL

Florida Methodist Conference, Lakeland, FL

Kathleen Hoffman, Clearwater FL

Phillip Henry, Orlando FL

Charlotte and Dave Nielson, Winter Park FL

Bell Bank, Winter Park FL

Angie and Jeff Winn, Windermere FL

Ashley and Brian Vann, Winter Park FL

Katrina and Mark Jackson, Winter Park FL

Jim and Liz Stroz and Family, Winter Park FL

Blaire and Josh Lynch and Family, Winter Park FL

Barbie and Steve Boyd, Winter Park FL

Laura and Miles Toshie, Winter Park FL

Carin and Oscar Anderson, Orlando FL

RJ Sonomo Family Giving Fund, Orlando FL

Catherine and Skip Matthias and Family, Winter Park FL

Debby and Jim Manuel, Orlando FL

Kristin and Ryan Morgan and Family, Winter Park FL

Janice and Randy Ellington, Maitland FL

Massey Services, Inc., Orlando FL

Bailes Family Foundation, Winter Park FL

Beth and Bill Neidlinger, Winter Park FL

and the over 200 Crave Community Builders who’ve donated $2 to $2000.00!