Planting kingdom-building seeds, then surrendering, awaiting His harvest: ‘God moments’
Welcome back to our series of articles about how we started Florida’s only (for now) Catholic Worker community, Dorothy Day Tampa (DD Tampa).
In our previous posts, we shared the influence of the Catholic Worker vision and mission in developing a Dorothy Day Tampa House. Also, our decision to establish a Catholic Worker House of Hospitality utilizing our unique media, messaging, storytelling, and vision-carrying approach. That was followed by an article that addressed fundraising.
Our next post shared our search for an opening location and acquiring the art of volunteer management. Our overall development strategy? Align with Dorothy’s vision and stay true to the core values of the Catholic Worker movement as we introduce the concepts of a revolution of the heart and radical hospitality to the local Tampa community and beyond.
That leads us to the challenging topic of planting seeds and then surrendering – being still – awaiting His bountiful provision, all in His perfect timing for Dorothy Day Tampa.
Those who know me will confirm that prior to founding Dorothy Day Tampa, words like being still and surrender were not in my lexicon. To me, securing an opening location for Dorothy Day Tampa should be simple and straightforward, correct? Scripture reminds us to “commit to the Lord your way; trust in Him and He will act.” [Ps 37:5]
Our fervent prayers for an opening location went unanswered in 2022 and well in 2023. Discouraged, like Dorothy Day, I eventually surrendered to His will and provision of our ministry. “Be still and know that I am God” [Ps 46:10] became my default mantra, recited hourly. I was to patiently await a ‘God moment’ – a divinely inspired outcome demonstrating His divine intervention and provision for a Dorothy Day Tampa opening location.
June 2023 God Moment
After losing my wife Ann in April 2023, my Tampa friend Scottie sent me a sympathy card. Scottie had no idea that “Be still and know that I am God” is my default scripture passage to ground myself in times of ministry chaos and disappointments.
The message on the back of the card: “Hummingbirds are an image of perpetual motion. When you see one still, it is a bit of a shock. Like us, being still can seem unnatural. Here one sits still, suspended by God. It’s in that stillness that God grows souls and quiets our hearts.”
The words of Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 are familiar: “There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to be silent, and a time to speak…”
In August 2023, I spoke to Susan Morgan, MSW, who handles special projects for Gracepoint Wellness, including Homeless Services and the Coffee Shop – Tampa’s lone homeless drop-in center. My inquiry: “Would Gracepoint Homeless Services consider sharing space as an opening location for Dorothy Day Tampa?”
After Susan explored my request, she shared “fingers crossed,” the “jury was out.” Later, she shared we could proceed to create our opening location in unused space in offices adjacent to their Coffee Shop facility.
Effective 12/31/2023, Dorothy Day Tampa Hospitality House location:
6220 N Nebraska Ave., Suite C, Tampa, FL 22604
In an agreement to share space with Gracepoint Wellness, starting Q1 2024, we will help the Coffee Shop provide critical services – showers, laundry, mail collection, computer access, coffee, and community meals – as well as compassion and respite. Led entirely by volunteers, Dorothy Day Tampa aims to live out the radical hospitality of Catholic activist Dorothy Day. Following Day’s example, they believe in the dignity and value of every person, regardless of life circumstances.
As I continue to process our profound loss of Ann and struggle to heal, journey companion, Dorothy Day Tampa media advisor, and close friend Chris Koch shared with me how Ann made a profound impact on his life. So much so, that he shared he was “cranking up his Dorothy Day Tampa-related activities a notch or two.” That sounds like the perfect plan for me, too: together, honor the memory and legacy of Ann M. Doyle.
Next up in our series: #9 – Create a ministry sounding board of experts.