Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct-Action (BUILD) is an organization of 26 religious congregations here in town. The Newman Center is a part of this interfaith, diverse grassroots organization, taking part in the BUILD campaigns that have expanded affordable housing in Lexington, reduced recidivism, and enabled the uninsured to receive mental health treatment.
This year, the Newman Center is striving to have 140 parishioners attend the Nehemiah Action on April 25th in the Heritage Hall at the Convention Center. Doors will open at 6:15pm with the Action beginning at 7PM. The goals for this year’s action are to increase city efforts to treat mental illness and to press our officials for a nationally-recognized program that will reduce violent crime in Lexington through more effective policing strategies.
Our Mission is to Do Justice as God requires of us. Our Vision is 52:1. If we can gather for worship 52 times a year, certainly each BUILD congregation can bring their average worship attendance to our Nehemiah Action Assembly just once a year to hold our public officials accountable to do what is right, what is fair and what is just. For Justice is the heart of what God is and what God does.
And they said, "Let us rise up and build." So they strengthened their hands for this good work. Nehemiah 2:18
Our power was energized at the Rally! 461 people (90 more than last year) heard dynamic messages from our pastoral leaders, inspiring prayers and music, profound personal testimonies and issue updates. But with only 46% of our committed JMN Members present to hear the good news and prepare for the Action, it is imperative that ALL of us must strengthen our hands, lift up our voices and ignite the spirit in our hearts and souls to actually have the power of 2000, April 25th. During the roll call, it was reported that we have 1663 Action commitments. We need 4000 people to say 'Yes' so that 2000 will be present! Yes, time is short and our work effort critical if we truly desire to make Lexington more like a city of God!
A succinct summary of our issue updates:
Stop the Violence and Reclaim Our Neighborhoods
Currently, Vice Mayor Steve Kay, Commissioner of Public Safety Ronnie Bastin and Commissioner of Social Services Chris Ford have committed to attend the Action. Crime and Drug Committee has not given up with engaging Mayor Gray or Commonwealth Attorney Lou Anna Red Corn to also attend. We know that the evidenced based National Network for Safe Communities (NNSC) model is effective with significantly reducing violent crime and drug offenses in many cities throughout our nation. Again this year, BUILD's 'ask' will be to bring the NNSC program to Lex. so that we can bring an end to this violence and make our neighborhoods a more safe place for all.
BUILD is hosting a stakeholder's event, Mon. April 17th, 1-3 PM at 2nd Presbyterian. The following have been invited - Mayor Gray's office, Vice Mayor Steve Kay, a member from the Fayette CO Prosecutor's Office, Herald-Leader Editorial Staff, UK Police Chief Joe Monroe, Principal Sam Meaux (Tates Creek HS), UK Chandler and Good Samaritan Emergency Dept. doctors, among others. We will share more about NNSC, including video footage from Birmingham, Al and a conference call with a director at NNSC who can answer questions.
Our Mentally Ill Need Care----Not Crisis
If we want to care for the mentally ill and keep them out of crisis (treated in jail or hospital and released without follow-up care), there must be a community of support providing access to housing, substance abuse treatment programs, job training and group support for the client and family members. At the Action, Bluegrass.org, will be 'asked' to create a specific plan for the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team to serve 100 people. Also, with funding of Fayette County Mental Health Court (FCMHC) in jeopardy, BUILD will ask that the necessary funds needed to continue Mental Health Court be granted. This interdisciplinary, diversion program in District Court has resulted in a 100% reduction in criminal justice system interaction in the first 30 days post engagement and 64% sobriety at 6 months. Each successful participant saves the system $22,865 per year! At the Rally, Ms. Peluso shared her positive experience, and renewed life, as a graduate of this program.
Upcoming IMPORTANT DATES for Justice Ministry Network Members
· Nehemiah Action Assembly, Tuesday, April 25th, 7 PM. Heritage Hall. Doors open 6:15 PM. Free parking available in Rupp Arena lot off Manchester Street
· Celebration, Monday, June 12th, 7 PM. Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary. Dinner begins at 6:15 PM.
May we hold in our hearts and prayers Nehemiah's gifts to us of strength, integrity, vision, compassion and leadership as we continue the sacred work of Doing Justice.
BUILD leaders for the parish are always willing to engage anyone interested in becoming more involved with the organization
Newman Center BUILD Members Contact Information
Franny Henkel: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rahul Karanth: email@example.com
Habitat for Humanity
Work with others to build homes for the poor. The Annual Catholic Build has constructed 25 homes in the last 24 years. The build is from August to October. Contact Tom LIttle at firstname.lastname@example.org; 859.338.3301
The Crop Walk is a community-wide event that raises awareness and money to fight hunger in Lexington and around the world. The walk takes place each year on the last Sunday in September beginning at 3 p.m. Donations are accepted even if one is unable to walk. Contact Sr. Ellen Kehoe - email@example.com
Catholic Action Center
Catholic Action Center is a House of Hospitality based on the work of Dorothy Day's Catholic Worker Movement. Volunteers help prepare and/or serve meals for homeless. Visit, play games, be present to guests in whatever way is needed. There are many ways to volunteer, including, donating food and clothing.
This Inn works in collaboration with Emmanuel Apostolic Church which shelters men and women from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. seven nights a week. Volunteers are needed to help with classes, medical clinics, employment clinics, legal clinics, Bible study, and other services.
Interfaith Community Christmas Store
Volunteers donate and collect gently used toys so low income families can shop for Christmas gifts. Volunteers are needed to set up and/or help families with shopping.
Peace Craft Sale
Volunteers are needed to help set up, record sales, and break down the sales area after each Mass on a weekend in the fall. Peace Craft is an organization that helps market craft items from the developing world.
Alternate Spring Break Trips
Opportunities to work with others to help serve the poor in various ways during spring breaks. Contact Kevin Steele at firstname.lastname@example.org
Warm Up America
Help knit or crochet blankets for the ill and at-risk. Training is given.
Weekly Student Service Events
Volunteers visit and help at a variety of local sites. Contact Deacon Dennis Dever email@example.com