Dan and Leslea on a recent hike in the Berkshires.
“To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven.”
For most of us, the past several months have ushered in a season of profound change: disruptions and loss related to the pandemic, a heightened awareness of racial injustice, and widespread social unrest. FOCUS is also experiencing change – some of it challenging, much of it encouraging. Our spring began with ministry-as-usual and ended with schools closed, face-to-face FOCUS meetings suspended, and traditional Summer Programs cancelled for 2020. Nevertheless, our work with independent school students continues (even thrives) under the committed, creative leadership of our Area Directors. Even as Zoom calls and small, socially distanced gatherings remain our model this fall, students are engaging with one another, with our staff and volunteers, and with the most important questions of life and faith.
Other recent changes are easy to celebrate, while some call for deeper reflection. As we strive to “give thanks in all things” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), here are some highlights:
- We launched FOCUS New Jersey, led by Area Director John Alexander, with Keith and Marcella Holmes as co-chairs of the new Area Sponsoring Committee.
- We welcomed new staff members in our Richmond, Raleigh, and Greater Washington areas.
- We bid a grateful farewell to our Head Cook, Brenda Cruz, as she concluded more than two decades of service at the Study Center.
- We continue to mourn the passing of our FOCUS founder and dear friend, the Reverend Peter Moore, in May. It has been beautiful to watch the FOCUS community unite in honoring Peter and his enduring legacy.
- Finally, our ongoing Racial Reconciliation initiative (a process begun three years ago) is helping us listen, learn, and seek to love students better – not merely with words or speech, but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:18).
In this season of change, whether marked by setbacks or progress, we remain assured in our mission, thankful for our extended FOCUS community, and grateful to the God we serve together.