This year my epiphany star was the word partner. What is an Epiphany star? In case this is not a familiar concept, an Epiphany star is a word that is selected or given randomly. Congregants are invited to use that word for prayer and guidance, just as the Magi used a star to guide them to a stable in Bethlehem.

My word suggested to me that I needed to focus on my partner, my husband Tim.

Tim reminded me that the word partner is also a verb. Indeed, it is! The strength of ACTC is how it partners with people, other agencies, churches, and volunteers. Through God’s grace, ACTC receives whatever is needed.

We need each other. It is the way we were designed. ACTC accomplishes great deeds, alleviation of hunger and personal suffering, because people want to work together for our common good. The recognition of this began with our founder and has become part of ACTC’s values.

This year, my church Towson Presbyterian, read Love is the Way by Bishop Michael Curry, and many of us went to see the accompanying film, A Case for Love.

In his book and movie, Bishop Curry discusses what this love is and how it is the antidote to hatred, polarization, and chaos. Love is another verb that is deeply embedded in our values. It can be defined as actively seeking to do what is needed, to provide, to heal, to listen, to stand in the gap, to feed, to shelter, to seek the wholeness of the other person. This kind of love is at the heart of ACTC.

If we are not giving out of love, as partners, in solidarity for with our food-insecure neighbors and the homeless we serve, then we are not doing what God is calling us to do. Let us keep this in the front of our minds, that we are loved by God. We are called to love our neighbor, especially in their time of need. I like to think that another acronym for ACTC is A Call to Care.

We will continue to care this year; we will continue to do our work with great love and compassion. As we do this, we will find that we are healed, and our community is a better place. We pray that love will overcome hate, and partnership triumph over polarization and chaos. May it be so.