Dear Richmond Community,
“Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and kindle in us the fire of Your love. Send forth Your spirit and we shall be created, and You shall renew the face of the earth. Oh God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant by that same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy Your consolations, through Christ our Lord, Amen.”
In the Methodist tradition, before communion is received we state a creed:
“Merciful God, we confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart; we have failed to be an obedient church; we have not done your will; we have broken your law. We have rebelled against your love, and we have not heard the cry of the needy. Forgive us, we pray; free us for joyful obedience, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”
The purpose of this creed is to recognize our humanness and that we all fall short. Therefore, we would like to invite the Richmond Emmaus and Chrysalis Community to observe a similar mindset. We are all humans who have fallen short in committing to and growing the community.
Unfortunately, we have bad news to share. The Chrysalis Board agreed on a deadline for Caterpillar applications. The reason for this was because we were in a legally binding contract with Richard Bland College, in which we promised a minimum of 60 people, which totaled a specific dollar amount. In order to achieve that number, we needed at least 20 caterpillars… as of May 26, we had 3.
This trend is felt both by Chrysalis as well as Emmaus, as our numbers across the board are significantly lower than in previous years. Because we did not reach our goal, we had to make the difficult decision of canceling the flights — something we have not done in many years. This is not the outcome we hoped and prayed for, but it is the reality of where we are right now. This leaves us with the question: how did we get here, and what are our next steps?
As the creed says, we ask God to “free us for joyful obedience.” This is very similar to what this community is about to face. Zach Roberts has been invited to participate in a meeting with the Upper Room, involving Chrysalis communities from around the world, where he will be representing the entire Northeast Region. In this meeting, which will be held in October, the structure for Chrysalis will be reevaluated and these questions that hinder us today will be addressed.
Zach and I will be selecting leaders among our Community to share feedback for him to take to the meeting in October. What we need from you, the Community, is your thoughts, ideas, and feedback. We want him to be as informed as possible.
This will be like an instruction manual for our Community to have a new beginning. For many years, our Community has been operating on auto-pilot; now we have to get up and do something if we want to continue to have Emmaus Walks and Chrysalis Flights. If we want to see our Community thrive again, we have to put in the work to get it to that place. This means getting real about where we are, putting goals down on paper, and committing to the work required to achieve them. This is where we need everyone’s energy, motivation, and positivity.
As a Chrysalis Board, we believe in the power of the Holy Spirit and how it changes and transforms the lives of youth. Likewise with Emmaus, you feel the same about the adults who walk. We encourage the Community to take to heart Second Corinthians 5:17 (the main scripture used in Chrysalis internationally), which states, “Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation: the old is gone, the new has come!”
While this email is not filled with happy news of an upcoming flight, we are confident in our next steps. However, we cannot do this alone. We need our Community to come together in unity and with the same goal: being the hands and feet of Christ. That is our motivation and what unifies us. Let the fire of the Holy Spirit be burning in your hearts as we move toward a renewal of our Community.
We look forward to hearing from everyone, and to the conversations to follow, to get our Community where it needs to be.
Fly with Christ,