Exciting News, #1

As 2012 draws to a (busy) close and 2013 begins to peek over the horizon, I’m excited to share some great news with you all:

Recently, the church’s Executive Team met and agreed unanimously to increase their support of me by $10,000 (for the year) beginning on January 1, 2013. They also affirmed their support of my role in the church and reaffirmed their commitment to get to the point where they’re completely covering my salary (with the increase, the church will be covering about 75%).

Which leads me to ask:

Will you partner with me to raise the remaining $10,000 I need to meet my budget for 2013?

God has been so faithful–through the gifts and support of over 50 people, including many of you–over the last couple years; and I’m so grateful for your partnership in this adventure. If you’d like to help support me financially, you’re welcome to do so:

[All gifts are fully tax-deductible.]

And if you’re part of The District Church and you’ve been supporting me, thank you first of all–I’ve appreciated your focused giving so much–but let me now encourage you to give directly to the church, with the reassurance that they’re working toward fully supporting me financially.

Praying peace, hope, joy, and love for you this Advent season,

Justin.

P.S. The observant among you will have noticed that this email is labeled “#1.” Yes, there’s more exciting news for 2013, and I can’t wait to share it in the coming weeks!

The Announcement(s) (and a prayer request and free music)

Okay, so I wasn’t intending to wait a month before getting back to you, so apologies there! Anyway, on to the news: I originally had just one announcement but I figured I’d throw in another–just for fun.

So without further ado …

Announcement #1: ONLY $1,000 TO GO!
Thanks to all of your amazing support (both regular giving and special gifts) as well as the church’s expanded capacity to pay me a little more, I’ve almost hit 100% of my target for this year, with a third of the year still left to go! I have about $1,000 more to raise in order to meet my budget goal, and so I’m asking if you’ll help with one final push (details below).

Announcement #2: THREE WEEKS IN A ROW!
I’m going to be preaching the next three weeks at The District Church! I’m so excited and honored and thankful to Aaron for giving me this opportunity–I’ve been averaging once a month, but Aaron and I agreed this would be a great challenge and a chance to craft something over consecutive weeks. So I’ll be bringing home our current series on Galatians, entitled “Who’s In?” I’d appreciate your prayers, particularly over the coming weeks.

Prayer Request
Things are getting pretty busy, with the aforementioned preaching, a trip to Madison, WI for a conference, and gearing up for the fall. And perhaps for this reason (and/or for other additional reasons), I haven’t been sleeping well for the last week or so. So if you could pray for me in this too, I’d appreciate it.

Grace and peace to you,
Justin.

P.S. I’ve started doing more music on the side, performing at venues with friends (see previous emails and pic below, taken by my friend Sarah), and I’m sure I’ll have more exciting news soon on this front. But in the meantime, I thought I’d share with you a track I recorded a couple years back. It’s a little different to what I normally do, but I hope you like it nonetheless. Enjoy: Embrace (click to download).


You can join the team and support my work at The District Church in three ways:
  1. By giving financially, whether regularly or with a special gift; details below.
  2. By praying for me, for the work I’m involved in, and for the growing District Church community.
  3. By connecting me with individuals, organizations, or churches, that you think would be interested in supporting what’s going on here in DC.
If you’d like to give financial support, you’re welcome to do so:
  • by check, payable to “The District Church” with “For the Ministry of Justin Fung” in the memo, and mailed to The District Church, PO Box 3116, Washington, DC 20010;
  • online here, selecting “Ministry of JF” from the dropdown menu.

All gifts are fully tax-deductible.

Obama and me: a common journey

[Official White House Photo: Pete Souza]

Yesterday morning, I tuned in to watch the National Prayer Breakfast online. I managed to catch the end of author Eric Metaxas’ keynote, and then the President’s address. I’ve always resonated with President Obama’s expressions of his faith, even from when he was a Senator, and before he ran for president–from his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention to the passages in Dreams from my Father. Yesterday, he drew upon several verses that form the foundation of my own engagement in politics, advocacy, and public life:

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

“To those whom much is given, much will be required.”

“Speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”

He continued:

Treating others as you want to be treated.  Requiring much from those who have been given so much.  Living by the principle that we are our brother’s keeper.  Caring for the poor and those in need.  These values are old.  They can be found in many denominations and many faiths, among many believers and among many non-believers.  And they are values that have always made this country great — when we live up to them; when we don’t just give lip service to them; when we don’t just talk about them one day a year.  And they’re the ones that have defined my own faith journey.

They’re the ones that have defined my faith journey as well, which I shared when I graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary. I got to be one of the speakers at Commencement, and shared a little bit of my own journey:

***

Meanwhile, over at the Sojourners blog, Wes Granberg-Michaelson, former General Secretary of the Reformed Church in America, shares his thoughts in a great response. Notably:

Money controls who gets elected and controls how laws and policies are made, I think, in utterly dangerous ways. More than ever, for those who gathered in prayer Thursday morning, money is power. And it’s the power of money in politics today that must be confronted — by people of faith — as a moral issue.

So I wondered (and prayed), where is the William Wilberforce of today, a leader who will take the message of the Bible to heart, rise up to confront the ways in which money enslaves our modern political life, lead a movement to end it, and then, one day, be celebrated for his or her courage and faithfulness to the gospel at a future prayer breakfast?

Even as we celebrate a common faith and shared values, we need to continue working to see these worked out in the world we inhabit.

You + The District Church = #Winning

What a year! In the last twelve months at The District Church, I’ve:

  • preached the first seven sermons of my life;
  • continued to lead worship regularly; and
  • led a small group that, over the course of three semesters, involved almost 50 people, and saw three new small groups start out of it this fall.

But perhaps more gratifying is what’s happened in, through, around, and beyond myself, as the church itself has:

  • welcomed over 500 people at our Sunday services;
  • grown from a community of 50 to over 200 (and a second service);
  • multiplied from two small groups to eight, involving the vast majority of our church community;
  • combined with matching donors to raise over $100,000 for famine relief in the Horn of Africa;
  • put on a Kids Festival in the spring and a Fall Festival just last month that each connected us with several hundred people in our community; and
  • most recently, joined with other churches in our area to kick off an urban youth ministry program.

All of this comes down to your generosity–that helped me raise enough support to work part-time at the church–and your prayers–that, among other things, led me to my current part-time contract with ONE. I can’t offer a precise “dollars invested : lives impacted” ratio, but know that you have been and continue to make a difference in Washington, DC.

This next year, I’m sensing that God is calling me to this work full-time. Because our church is still young (at almost 18 months, I’d say we’re toddler-aged) and is reaching mostly young adults and unpaid interns, there’s a need for all of us to continue raising support. This year, I’m trusting God to provide $40,000 and I’m asking you to be a shareholder in this vision.Will you pray about how much of this you can give to help change lives, communities, and neighborhoods here in DC?

My ordination is only a week away. This is such a confirmation and affirmation of the calling God has for me. I know many of you won’t be able to make it to the actual ceremony, but one of the ways you can support me is by pledging your financial support for the next year.I also just want to issue an open invitation to you to come visit: come see the church that you (through me) have had a hand in planting here in the nation’s capital; come see the work that we’re engaging in; come see me in the place that God has called me to be, doing what I feel like I was always created to do. There’s guest space a-plenty!

Thankful for your part in my life and journey,
Justin.

P.S. We were just featured in the latest edition of the Religious Herald! Check it out. (Photo credit to me, my iPhone, and my Hipstamatic app.)


You can give online via Auto-Tithe. Please make sure to select “For the Ministry of Justin Fung” in the drop-down menu. Or you can make checks payable to “The District Church,” with “For the Ministry of Justin Fung” in the memo and send them to: The District Church, PO Box 3116, Washington, DC 20010.

All gifts are fully tax-deductible.

Update from the campaign (10/7)

Events:

On Tuesday we hosted a 350.org event, entitled Panel for the Planet. It was a great success, with attendees from across the political spectrum all supporting environmental responsibility. Dr. Fred Van Dyke, professor of biology at Wheaton College, was the keynote speaker, and discussed how politics could address the environmental issues facing us.

Ben, speaking afterwards, said:

I’m thankful that everyone could be here and that Dr. Van Dyke could lead us in a frank discussion of what we need to do to create a more just and sustainable future. We desperately need good jobs in Illinois, and the clean energy economy is our best option for putting people back to work while tackling the urgent climate crisis. That is why, unlike my competitor, incumbent Peter Roskam, I strongly support robust clean energy legislation. It is just the right thing to do for our community. Clean energy is not solely a Democratic or Republican priority; it is a moral priority, an American priority, and one that I am proud to champion for our district.

Yesterday Ben spoke at three Political Science/American Government classes at College of DuPage, each time answering questions on his positions, on his thoughts on politics, and on why he decided to run (and to run the way he is running, free from special interests). Something he said really hit home: “Only when we have people who will win the right way will we have people who will govern the right way.”

Amen, brother.

(Did you notice our campaign pumpkin? Yeah, it wasn’t carved. We might still do that–three weeks to get around to it!)

Donations:

We recently talked to a local businessman, a Wheaton grad and a pillar of the community—he’s been overseeing his company for over 50 years! He said he’s done with supporting political candidates who simply feed into the broken status quo. But, meeting with him yesterday, he said to Ben, “You’re different. You’re the only one I’m supporting.”

The fact is, Ben’s decision not to take money from interests—to run with integrity and conviction—is refreshing for many people.

If you’d like, you’re welcome to give here. This is a grassroots campaign, energized, supported and run by volunteers. This is your campaign.