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Dear Friends,

I would like to open with powerful words that our "Celebrating Home" honoree, Bethany Smart, shared with us last week. This quote by writer, consultant and activist Margaret Wheatley gives great insight into the attributes of a community that can flourish, even during dark and chaotic times. At Hope Acts, this is the type of community we strive to create and the type of community where we want to live and work.

Wheatley said, "A community that turns to one another creates a spirit of welcome for all its members. It relies on the fact that people want to be engaged, that they want to learn and contribute to their community. It recognizes that people will step forward as leaders when they discover an issue they care about.  It pays attention to the web of relationships and works to include, not exclude. It keeps inviting in more people for their rich diversity of ideas, heritage, perspectives. As it does all this, a miraculous gift reveals itself. We have what we need, right here, right now, among us all."


Thanks to all of you for showing up, for contributing, for making meaningful connections and for doing your part to create and sustain Hope Acts and the community we call our home.

With gratitude,

Martha Stein
Executive Director

PS - I am reeling from the horrific, hate-filled actions that have unfolded in our country this week. While I am angry and sad, I remain hopeful that more people like me -- and like you, -- will continue to work for inclusivity, kindness, and peace. As Wheatley said, "We have what we need, right here, right now, among us all."
A Visit from St. Ansgar Lutheran Church 
When you look at Hope House from the outside you can see our 1890s building was formerly a church. In early October we were lucky enough to be treated to dinner and a visit from congregants of St. Ansgar Lutheran Church, whose original church building is now Hope House. 

Elders from the congregation shared memories of attending Sunday school, baptisms and other life events in our building. One told us that hers was the last wedding that was held in the building. Another remembered running around the posts, in what is now Hope House's community space, when she was a young girl attending Sunday school.

There was an easy flow of conversation; no need for the ice-breaker planned to get the discussion rolling. As we finished our meal and conversation, one of our visitors commented that his Scandinavian immigrant ancestors who founded the church in the 1880s would love the idea of immigrants living in their former church. A lovely thought to end a special evening.

Thank you to our new friends from St. Ansgar Lutheran Church (now located on Woodford Street in Portland. We are grateful for their friendship but also for their longtime financial support. Hope Acts is the recipient of St. Ansgar's monthly "Noisy Offering" -- a monthly collection by the children of St. Ansgar. We love the idea of youngsters skipping through the sanctuary aisles, encouraging generosity by the congregation.  We look forward to continuing this special relationship with St. Ansgar Lutheran Church.
Celebrating Home 2018!
What a night! New and long-time friends, good food, music, dancing, art and generosity. Hope Acts thanks everyone for their contributions to the success of Celebrating Home 2018, Hope Acts' benefit that took place on Thursday, October 18th.

We honored three members of our community, Bethany Smart, Julia Truillo and E.L. 

Julia Truillo, Director of Economic Opportunity for Portland and recipient of our Community Builder award, shared her own immigrant story and she reflected, "My roots and heritage are a huge part of who I am, but they are not my entire story. My journey as I settled here is also part of my story but it is not the only one. It does not exclusively define who I am. So I invite you to continue to get to know each other, not only to debunk stereotypes but also to avoid generalizations. To peel that onion and get to know that human spirit. We all have our very own, unique stories." 

E.L. received a special award for his contributions to our Hope House English Language Program (HHELP) and for all of the assistance he provides to staff and residents of Hope House. EL spoke about his appreciation for the Hope Acts community and his wish for justice for all asylum seekers.

Heart of our Home award recipient Bethany Smart talked about the mutual benefit for both immigrants and longtime residents when we get to know each other and create a community. She said, "The way I think of it, we are all helping each other build the future we want to live in. We’re all helping each other build better lives. My family and I have been so enriched by the new friendships we’ve made and experiences we’ve shared in the past 2 years. In fact, I can’t believe it’s only been 2 years since I got involved at Hope House, as I can’t really even imagine what my life was like without these friendships."

Also, four event attendees are new residents of Hope House who moved in during October. We are glad they had a chance to participate in this special evening. An important milestone during Celebrating Home: we signed a second five-year lease, thanks to our benefactors, Richard and Theresa Berman. The Berman family's generous gift of a no-fee lease for Hope House has provided a safe, warm place for nearly 50 asylum seekers to live and restart their lives. Thank you, Richard and Theresa for your kindness.
Hope Acts Board President Jennifer Dimond and Richard Berman sign a new five-year lease for Hope House. We are glad to welcome new asylum seekers to our special home.  
Special thanks to all of the sponsors of Celebrating Home 2018!
 
French/English Exchange and potluck meal- Tuesday, October 30th at 6:15 pm.  If you'd like to attend on Tuesday or if you would like to be added to the mailing list for the next French English Exchange, please contact Carolyn@hopeacts.org.
Here's a really easy way to help Hope Acts!  Would you CLYNK for us?  If you would be willing to turn your recyclables into a donation for Hope Acts (in Maine -- bottles and cans that include a deposit), send an email to martha@hopeacts.org with your mailing address and we'll send you a few bar-coded bag stickers. Put the sticker on a CLYNK bag, fill and return the bag to a participating Hannaford supermarket.  THANK YOU.

Thank you, in advance, for your financial support of Hope Acts. Your donation today provides housing, classes, and a sense of community for immigrants, allowing them to achieve their goals for a successful future. Please visit hopeacts.org/give or mail a check to Hope Acts, PO Box 7615, Portland ME 04112.
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Hope Acts · PO Box 7615 · Portland, ME 04112 · USA

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