Practical Help and Training at Reservoir Church in Cambridge, MA
Image Map
Image Map

Practical Help and Training

Advent 2020: Reservoir Introduces The Beloved Community Fund

The Beloved Community Fund is a resource that will support individuals within Reservoir’s community by

  • Connecting them to short-term financial assistance

  • Connecting them to longer-term resources and networks within, and beyond Reservoir Church.

At Reservoir we seek to provide avenues of joy, hope, wholeness, and vitality through human relationship in community, and the beloved community fund will be no exception to this.


Therefore, the Beloved Community Fund’s scope will go beyond just financial need, and offer access to human connection and empowerment via all that our beloved community has to offer.  Over the next few months, the beloved fund committee will focus on building a human network of financial, mental, spiritual and physical health resources.  As we seek to live out the words of I John 3:11, “for this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.”

To fill out a form to start a conversation about your need or someone you’d like us to know about, click HERE.  All information provided in this google form will be held in confidence. The BCF budget is $150/week for immediate financial needs, and current distribution turnaround time is 2 weeks. (Effective Date of this form is 11/25/2020.)

Some thoughts from Steve Watson in Spring 2020:

During our current COVID-19 crisis, members of our community have had great needs and anxieties ourselves. And we have sought to find help from God and friends to make it through this season together. For ongoing needs for help with your errands or practical tasks, please reach out to Pastor Lydia at lydia@reservoirchurch.org and she can try to match you with volunteers. In the midst of our needs, though, it has been inspiring to see our community love our neighbors and turn our faith into action together as well.

One of the Reservoir Church’s five core values is Action. We say: Love for Jesus compels us to act – to seek justice, show compassion, work for reconciliation, and hope for transformation in joyful engagement with the world. 

We raised well over $25,000 for our own Feed Cambridge Families initiative, funding gift cards distributed to economically insecure families in the Cambridge Public Schools. That story was picked up by WBZ and other journalists as a way to inspire others to respond to our pandemic with love and generosity. At this point, other people and programs have stepped up in Cambridge to help families in our city, most notably through the The Mayor’s Fund.

We also partnered with the American Red Cross to turn our sanctuary into a sacred space for blood donation. Over several days, we have already collected over 200 units of blood in the Reservoir sanctuary, saving up to 600 lives in the process. Donors including US Congresswoman Katherine Clark. We have one more day scheduled with the Red Cross, and depending on the Banneker School’s schedule, we may have more in the future. Donor spots are full but volunteers needed.

Our church is also partnering with Greater Boston Interfaith Organization to bring help and calls for justice all the way to the office of our Governor, as we seek housing security, access to affordable healthcare for all members of the Commonwealth, as well as relief for people who can and should be freed from dangerous conditions in our jails and prisons. This is a time to organize even more. To get involved with our church’s effort of putting Faith Into Action, contact lydia@reservoirchurch.org .

At this point, we’d like to invite all of our community groups to find your own way into this great movement of public love and justice God is calling us to in this season. We are hoping that every community group can together do one thing for the public good this spring. One thing to channel your faith into action. One way to seek justice, show compassion, work for reconciliation, or hope for transformation in joyful engagement with the world. 

Here are a list of some ideas for your groups. If you have more ideas, add them to this spreadsheet Public Love 2020. And once your group has decided what you’d like to do together, please let Ivy know that as well at ivy@reservoirchurch.org.

Love & Action in Your Neighborhood

  • Make gratitude posters for USPS employees and other delivery people. 
  • Commit to praying for your neighbors each day and where appropriate, let them know you’re doing so.
  • Make masks and/or partner with folks who are. [With face2facemasks.org, for every mask you buy, they will give a mask to a homeless shelter serving people who have no ability to socially isolate and “stay home” and have no ability to purchase masks for themselves.]

Giving Circle

Your group can pledge to give funds to a cause. Share what you’re each able to give, so that you know the total. Those who have some extra cash or savings could give or those who receive federal stimulus funds but don’t need them all for themselves could give all or a portion of those funds to those who need them more. A few ideas for places to give:

Imagine being quarantined with several other people in a one room, cement-floored home with no running water, no savings, and no access to work. These are the conditions for many residents in New Delhi, India. Our partners there, Asha, are mobilizing public health education as well as emergency food and cash relief in their communities right now.

People who are unhoused and those in recovery or still struggling with substance use disorder are among our city’s most vulnerable right now. Victory continues to serve these communities well and is led by Reservoir member Sarah Porter. 

Most undocumented immigrants will not receive any federal stimulus funds, even though they have played valuable roles in our economy and have been many of the first laid off during this crisis. Funds like this help undocumented immigrants access one of their only means of assistance right now. 

You may know another worthy organization members of your group are passionate about helping, or in your group, people may know friends or relatives or other contacts that could badly use some help.

You can financially support churches that have been hit hard this year, often smaller congregations. Or, you can volunteer your technological, legal, mental health, or other supports.

Serve Cambridge Elders from Your Home

Building Impact and the Cambridge Community Center are asking for help in supporting seniors, many of whom are experiencing isolation and have urgent unmet needs. Volunteers are needed to make weekly phone calls to Cambridge residents over 60, connecting them with available resources and giving them someone to talk to. They are looking for people who will make at least one call per week, for at least four weeks. You can learn more about the initiative by watching their calling tree volunteer training videos

Please click this link to sign up and begin, or email volunteer@buildingimpact.org with any questions.

Join a Local Mutual Aid Society and Help

Mutual aid societies – local, community-based groups of volunteers that answer hotlines and match needs with resources – have been very active. Sign up with the mutual aid society in the community where you live, and you can answer a hotline or donate money or services the people in your community need. There is a very active mutual aid society for Medford/Somerville, for instance, as well as one for Cambridge, and one in Arlington. The majority of our members live in these four communities, but there may be one in yours as well. 

SPECIAL CONTENT FROM SPRING 2020 DURING COVID-19 OUTBREAK:
The Layers of Prayers – The Prayers of Our Minds
The Layers of Payers – The Prayers of Our Hearts
The Layers of Prayers – The Prayers of Our Bodies
The Layers of Prayers – The Prayers of Our Souls
The Layers of Prayers – The Prayers of Our Spirit

SPIRITUAL PRACTICES FOR LIFE DURING QUARANTINE:
The Finding Prayer
Goodbye & Hello Prayer
I Am Not OK Prayer
Prayer of the Heart
The Lord’s Prayer *adapted
Your Full Name
Holy Hand Washing

SOME SHORT “WORD OF THE DAY” VIDEOS FROM OUR PASTORS:

Beyond our Sunday services and community groups, we look to offer people tools and experiences to connect with the joyful life Jesus makes possible. Your best bet for connection and support would be to frequent one of our community groups. While community groups are a great place to start, we’ve developed some additional resources that many of our members, friends, and guests have found useful. If you’re looking for something you don’t find here, feel free to contact any of our staff with your questions.

Community Group Resources

We provide our Community Group leaders with resources to use in their groups. These include bible and book studies and prayer resources. They also include our Love of Neighbor & Doing Justice social justice study. You may encounter some of this content by joining a Community Group at Reservoir, but you’re also welcome to check out these resources for yourself!

Discovery Weekend

Discovering our desires, abilities, gifts, and personalities can be both stressful and exhilarating. Each year, we offer an in-house weekend conference to help you reflect upon your life experiences and discover more of your purpose in the world. Through teaching and a variety of exercises that combine personal reflection with group interaction and feedback, Discovery Weekend will offer you valuable tools and perspective.

In order to allow the benefits of the course to continue beyond the weekend, participants who register with other community group members will be given priority, but all are welcome to attend.

Discovery Weekend is offered in the spring each year. Email discoveryweekend@reservoirchurch.org with questions or interest, and keep an eye on our calendar for the link to register. Note: Registration closes the Sunday before Discovery Weekend takes place.

Transformation Weekend

Our pasts affect us in many ways, known and unknown—and all too often negatively. Each year, we offer an in-house weekend conference designed to name these negative experiences and to tap into God’s power to free us from their effects and to propel us into a newly joyful future. Through teaching, small group conversation, and personal prayer exercises and reflection, the weekend will provide a valuable next step toward a life of freedom and wholeness.

Transformation Weekend is offered annually in February, but we occasionally also have related groups and resources throughout the year. Contact mail@reservoirchurch.org with questions or interest.

Couples and Marriage

Whether you are married or not, navigating love, friendship, and partnership as a couple can be both beautiful and stressful. We have found that couples need resources from God and support from others to have the best possible relationship. We offer family-friendly community groups, community groups specifically for couples, and occasionally classes for couples as well. Our pastors love meeting with couples who are exploring marriage, and they offer help with that process. While most of our couples are opposite sex, we’re happy to support same sex couples in engagement and marriage as well. Contact Steve Watson with questions or interest.

Extended Prayer

Prayer is a powerful way that we find a greater connection not only with God but also with ourselves. Most of our community groups pray together regularly and are an easy place to learn the art of prayer. We also have trained volunteers who offer prayer at our Sunday services. If you’d like an appointment for further prayer, contact Michaiah Healy with questions or interest. We practice a form of prayer called the Immanuel Approach, in which we look to establish a real connection with Jesus, the God-with-us who loves and is present to us. Michaiah can also let you know about opportunities to receive training in how to better connect with God through prayer and how to pray effectively for others.

Storehouse

We provide short-term food relief to members of Reservoir Church who are in need. To donate or to inquire about receiving help from Storehouse, contact us at storehouse@reservoirchurch.org.

Counseling Referrals

Our pastoral staff maintains a list of skilled mental health professionals who are experienced in serving people of faith. For questions or for a fully confidential referral, please send as much information as you are willing and able to share to referral@reservoirchurch.org.

“Take a Step” and other Email lists

There are a bunch of ways to stay in touch with us. We hope these resources will be helpful to you in your spiritual growth. To receive church announcements that connect you with resources and community news, email info@reservoirchurch.org to be added to our mailing list.