Written by Mr. Tommy Ferguson
SSCH Educator Coordinator
Happy New Year friends and neighbors of St Stephen’s Community House!
For many of our neighbors and possibly for some of us, saying goodbye to 2023 couldn’t have happened soon enough! Last year may have been a year of difficult finances, limited resources, bad health, or even a year that felt like more of the same.
Whatever happened or did not happen in 2023, there is nothing that you or I can do about it now. There is an old saying that I’m sure many of us have heard – “Out with the old…in with the new.” We must get rid of, purge, discard, and sometimes even throw away to move forward. The “old” may mean a change in how we did things, how we looked at things or even the choices we made or decided to make to help us be ready for the year ahead. We can’t change anything that happened last week or even a few minutes ago, but we can change how we view or respond to the challenges we are facing today and the next 364 days.
Sometimes to move forward we must also look back. Over the holiday my daughter sent me a picture of a Sankofa Bird she saw in the entrance of a museum. Sankofa is a word from the Akan people of Ghana. This bird’s feet are pointed forward while the neck stretches backwards. The bird is also carrying an egg in her beak. Sankofa has a few translations, but the one I like is, “we should retrieve things of value from our knowledge of the past.” Even if last year wasn’t your best, there are some good things we can bring into the new year.
In 2024, we have an opportunity for a “do over” or a fresh start. When I was growing up, there was a gospel song that was composed by Curtis Burrell but recorded and made famous by the Reverand James Cleveland in 1976. The lyrics say, “I don’t feel no ways tired; I’ve come too far from where I started from. Nobody told me that the road would be easy, I don’t believe He brought me this far to leave me.” I believe in a God who is with me and who sees me. This is the same God who is with you and sees you. He even reminds us of this in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
As St. Stephen’s Community House celebrates our 105th year of service, we also want to be a place of hope for our city and this community. As an agency, we can’t predict the future, but we will continue to be committed to our mission to “Strengthen families and empower our community,” like those who came before us, more than 100 years ago. One thing we can also guarantee is we will continue to operate out of our core values:
Stay tuned for an exciting announcement coming very soon which will include ways for you to serve, connect and even give this year! Let us also look forward with a renewed sense of purpose and a new attitude. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
– Mr. Tommy