Agape 40th Anniversary Reflection by Steve and Nancy James
Dear friends and supporters of Agape,
Steve and I are so grateful to have been there at the conception of Agape back in the late 80’s. We met frequently with Suzanne and Brayton, Charlie and Mary McCarthy,
and others to discuss and pray together seeking the embodiment of a community of non-violence and agape love. Those many hours of discussions and prayer led to what is Agape today and the discernment and blessing for our family to spend the next thirty years in Haiti while still connecting with the efforts of Agape. We felt supported during some spiritually lonely times by our core community in Massachusetts. We were blessed by many coming to visit us in Haiti and helping in the holistic medical work we were involved in. Cathleen Cooney, Pat Ferrone, Ray and Lillian Lamothe, Charlie McCarthy and Brayton and Suzanne to name a few. We felt sustained and blessed by their visits and we were also able to spend time away from Haiti in Massachusetts through the years. These visits were life giving to us. We now are back in the states although our hearts are often in Haiti. It has been important for us to keep in close touch with Agape, which is our spiritual home.
After experiencing two years during the pandemic, of ZOOM Francis Day celebrations, we were very much looking forward together with everyone in an “In Person” Celebration with everyone this year. Sadly due to Steve and I, now sick with Covid, we will not be able to attend this 40th year celebration at Agape, which grieves us deeply. Although we have also not been able to attend all of the planning sessions for this special day, due to a pilgrimage we were able to take these past five weeks to Iona, Scotland and then to Ireland. It was indeed a deeply meaningful time for us. We were able to carry Agape with us to places of prayer; ancient places of stunning starkness and beauty, where pilgrims have walked for thousands of years. We carried prayers of profound concern for our suffering world that is still focused on war and violence, for our planet and our eco-system that shows us daily its fragility and need for our care and immediate attention. We found our hearts open and full of love and compassion for the earth and the amazing connection we have with all of creation. We felt keenly aware of the Communion of Saints who have gone before us and who continue to speak to us so clearly.
It has been our joy to be a part of Agape’s Mission Council for the past several years and to be a part of the dialogue of how to carry Agape into the future with younger voices and energy seeking the Way of Jesus’ for our world today. We see our role as “elders” to bring some experience and wisdom to the younger generation, which has been such an honor. Being a part of Mission Council has brought us close to the other members whom we have ‘fallen in love’ with and see such hope for Agape’s future. We look forward to continue serving in the year ahead.
May this Francis Day at Agape be a time of joy and deep gratitude for the connections we’ve all experienced through the years. We are excited to see God at work.
Nancy and Steve
Agape Francis Day
a Poem by Steve James
What song did we hear
In our hearts,
Four decades ago?
What beauties beheld our gaze?
Grotonwood, Massachusetts, October 30, 1978
Olive Branch, Mustard Seed, Ailanthus, Haley House, Pine Street, Agape
Draper, South Boston, Westborough, Family Health and Social Service Center
John, Lillian, Ray, Marge, Tom, Joshua, Pat, Paul, Phil, Dan, Mary….
Around us, in us?
Nonviolence or nonexistence
Community or chaos
Matthew 25, to the least of these….
Take care of my business….
Be not afraid
Your Survival is guaranteed
To whom much is given, ….
Here I Am, Lord
I am Who Am is with you
Limbé, Haiti, Hardwick, Massachusetts
Bridge over Troubled Waters
Healing Love Incarnate
In the consciousness of eternity