Grand Haven Tribune: Extended Grace gets a revival

Extended Grace gets a revival

Krystle Wagner • Oct 26, 2015 at 8:53 PM

After closing in 2009 due to a lack of funding, Barbara Lee is working with a board to reboot Extended Grace as a non-profit multicultural spiritual organization. Now, the group has a new model for sustained funding and a focus on “nurturing, educating, and inspiring the individual” to help address social causes and human rights issues, said Lee, Extended Grace founder and an Experi-Mentor.


Board member Linda Bengston explained the group provides an opportunity to strengthen the community, open lines of communication and be a place to bring collaboration for resources.


“I think we have a responsibility to make our corner of the world better,” Bengston said.


Once a month, the group will hold multicultural, experiential and spiritual services called “Inspire!” The services are open to people of all faiths and philosophical backgrounds.


The first event will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1, at Barber School. Residents are asked to bring mittens, socks or lightly used clothing that will be donated to a local organization for colder months.


Starting in December, a fair trade store called Just Goods will open. It will help provide income for Extended Grace.


The organization plans to help the community and connect people with ways they can get involved. They plan to find gaps in local services, such as mental health, and reach out to agencies about providing education and resources.


One possibility for mental health services is to become a National Alliance on Mental Illness chapter, Lee said.


As a way to learn more about different cultures, there will also be opportunities for people to participate in immersion trips. In May, a group will visit China and Tibet.


They are also looking to expand the trips to Kenya, Lee said.


“It’s about listening to and learning from people who live in different places and cultures,” she said.


Community members of all ages can apply for a limited number of monetary Mudita gifts by explaining how they would use the money, what they would do to promote it, and what they have to offer in exchange for the gift.


Mudita is a Sanskrit word that means “I rejoice in your good fortune,” and the gift is a way to remove the barrier for people to do things, Lee explained.


Extended Grace is also looking to arrange a large annual conference starting in 2016, which would be aimed at raising awareness about the violations of women’s and girls’ rights around the world.


The conference will feature speakers, keynotes about women’s rights and what’s being done, and workshops.


With many church and organizations throughout the community, board member Judy Henzler said the organization is a way to collaborate better.


Henzler said she’s wanted to make a difference, and she believes the recently revived group is putting the community’s foot in the right direction.


“It will be a positive influence on the community,” she said.


Although a board and advisory board have been established, Lee said they are looking for volunteers.


People can get involved by contacting Lee by email [email protected] or phone 616-502-2078.

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