November 9, 2020

Your messianic congregation, or for others of you, your synagogue or church meets in rented facilities. All your stuff is stored there. Your people like the place.  

Then comes COVID-19. Social distancing. Temporarily you’re meeting on-line. You tell yourself it’s “just until we can go back home,” that is, to your congregational home.

Meanwhile, of course income is down. You’re having trouble paying for the space any more. You negotiate with your landlord, or with that church that let you make their home your home. You’re hoping for an accommodation.  But then maybe the host congregation themselves can’t afford to stay where they are. Then you get the phone call, the email, the text: “Our Board just met and we’re sorry, but you’ll have to leave.”

You feel like the people in Anatevka: “Soon you’ll be a stranger in a strange new place, searching for an old familiar face.”

What can you do when your poor congregation gets evicted?  Well, don’t think poor. Think RICH. Here are four RICH ideas to sustain you for such a time as this.  

R is for getting READY. Get ready for this eventuality. It can happen to you, and when it does, it feels so sudden. But no one can prevent you from being mentally and logistically prepared, so do it now. If you haven’t done it yet, your congregational leaders and board should begin immediately to discuss contingency plans

I is for getting INFORMED. There is much to learn, and lots of information if you know where to look.

  • Of course get a grasp on your finances. Find out how your landlord or host congregation is holding up. Don’t wait until the last minute.
  • You could start with learning about how both in the Jewish world and the Christian world, the backbone of community has been the home and home-based meetings the havurah, the shteibl, the kloyz in religious Jewish circles, and the home church or house church among Yeshua- (Jesus-) which was the only kind of meeting they had for three hundred years!  
  • Books like  Prayer & Community: The Havurah in American Judaism by Riv-Ellen Prell, or Paul’s Idea of Community: The Early House Churches in Their Cultural Setting, by Robert Banks, and so many others we can tell you of, will help you

C is for getting CONNECTED. You should not, make this journey alone.

  • This is why we have founded CHAI: The CHavurah Action Initiative as a meeting place and resource hub for people like you, and congregations like yours.
  • For you, your leaders, and Board, learn more about CHAI by viewing and discussing our YouTube videos beginning with the one you will find at the bottom of this page, “Building a Bridge to a Better Tomorrow.” Then follow up the same way with each later one in this series.   

H is for getting HOPEFUL. All of this should be helping you to get hopeful. There really is somewhere to go when you get evicted from your accustomed congregational home.

And it’s not a compromise. It's a return to roots that have sustained God’s people and grown God’s Kingdom for thousands of years. And there are ways to get there virtually. You can begin that journey now!

So come why not begin NOW to get RICHly sustained!  Watch our video, and stay in touch with CHAI: The CHavurah Action Initiative brought to you by your friends at Interfaithfulness where we’re “Building Bridges Where History Builds Walls.”

The video is part of a series taken from a Webinar presented in October, 2020. It is rather raw footage, so don’t expect Citizen Kane. But we felt sure people like you, who missed the webinar, would want to see this. This video is part ONE of NINE.


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