I want to thank the American Baptist Home Mission Societies for honoring our LABC Social Justice Committee with a Palmer Grant and providing a conference that has lived up to its name, Space for Grace.
Reverend Allison Tanner and I were afforded the opportunity to share the work, progress and hope we have for our Aspire and Achieve Program, both at our display at Innovators Hall, and in many individual and group conversations throughout the week. We were also impressed and humbled by all the wonderful, important work being done by all the other Palmer Grant recipients. There were programs all the way from Fairbanks, Alaska to Puerto Rico. The conversations were frank and honest. We were all energized by the drive and dedication of the many program leaders, sharing our joys and frustrations, love and hope. And the underlying theme among was indeed Space for Grace; allowing, understanding and embracing the transformative space in each step along the way.
There were many workshop options every day. I would walk around and find one with a title that interested me and I would walk in, but there was one I entered because the title surprised me: Grace is Growth Downward. Downward? Grace is a gift from God – on High. Downward?
The workshop began with a quote from Arthur Pink, which starts out, “Grace is the forming of a lower estimate of ourselves…” Oh. I really hadn’t thought about when grace happens, only that it does. I can see though that grace can happen when we Let Go and Let God. In fact, I think that letting go and letting God is grace. Grace gives us the ability to remember that our job is not to rescue; our job is to love. This allows God to do his/her work through our love.
While we were at the conference, our math tutor, Max Shapiro, made his first visit to Oakland Tech. There were some problems to overcome to make this happen, and we had little to do with this success. We provided the opportunity and phone numbers, and the 100 Black Men Organization and Max worked it out so that he could be there. Letting Go and Letting God.
Thank you, ABHMS, and thank you, Lord, for your love, leadership… and grace