THANK YOU to all who came along side to help our first Spirit Days become a reality!
We have been blessed beyond measure! Our heart-felt Thanks for the numerous efforts to Uplift The Spirit of our Rochester neighbors. This was just the First effort, and We WILL keep on keeping on. —The Spirit Days Team
Spirit Days became a reality in the midst of the perfect (really UN-perfect storm) of the Covid-19 Pandemic, tragic racial unrest, and the divisive 2020 political atmosphere and elections.
To say that our spirit has been wounded (and needed healing) was an understatement. Individuals, businesses, organizations, families…nearly everyone, felt a few degrees off.
Rochester Mayor Kim Norton, (in a visit with our friend Ilene Blanche) related her frustration with the division that was evident in our community… state…nation on multiple levels. Ilene connected Mayor Norton with Nathan Brand, President of Evangelical Pastors & Leaders Fellowship (EPLF).
A special summer ZOOM meeting was called (early July) to have Mayor Norton share her concerns and request help from EPLF members to find a solution. As a result of the meeting Wendell Amstutz, Wendy Scheckel (Project Coordinator) and Paul Larsen of the National Community Resource Center leadership team
created what would become Spirit Days.
Ultimately they invited community leaders to become part of the “Clydesdale Team”. Chris Blade (Post Bulletin Publisher), Nathan Brand (Berean Community Church Pastor), Brent Ackerman (Rochester Chamber of Commerce Media Director), Opal Richards (Attorney) and Kwasi Kyeremeh (Wind and Fire Church Pastor) joined the team to do the impossible…
Starting from scratch in late July, we conceptualized what Spirit Days should become, became missional in nature, did the foundational work (logo, website, social media, built partnerships, got our local media friends involved and mobilized local churches to UPLIFT THE SPIRIT of Rochester in tangible and intangible ways! Wow-that is a mouth full, and hundreds of hours.)
Tangible Results Happened:
Common Denominator/Agreement: Need for food
- Remarkable Drive of 1,200 boxes, 900+ cars came. Boxes worth $60 to $70, plus gallon of milk.
- Partnership with Emmanuel Baptist Church
- Other Partnerships: Channel One, RCTC
Winter Clothing: Jeans and Jackets Drive
- 572 winter coats already collected, and still going
- Partnership with Salvation Army/Landing
- Multiple Churches helped, keep helping
Creative Service came out of the woodwork
- Building community pantries, cabinets
- Whole new house floor; labor/supplies free
- Record setting Trunk-or-Treat with photo ops
- Band concerts for seniors, musicals, pen-pals
- Rochesterfest Parade; INSPIRING Rally
- MUCH MORE than space permits
Core to Spirit Days: The IN-TANGIBLE RESULTS
People were inspired to
- Get out of their doldrums
- Develop a MINDSET that will transform our city (The cornerstone result of Spirit Days)
- Serve our neighbors who are in need
- Seek the GOLD/THE GOOD in others
- Build new relationships, strengthen friendships
- Do things differently in a community dispute with city government
- See amazing things happen when we work together
Brent Ackerman has been in Rochester media leadership for more than 30 years, observed that he has never seen the Rochester radio stations, network TV stations and Post Bulletin work together to cover stories, events and people like they did for Spirit Days.
“They, indeed completed (the mission) rather than competing for recognition/ratings.” (To all of our Media friends: Job WELL DONE)
Going Beyond One and Done… BE CREATIVE
- Human Billboards… Thousands of “Spirit Days: Uplift the Spirit” Polo and T-shirts
- Quarterly Community Campaigns spotlighting GRATITUDE, RESPECT, LISTENING
- Post Bulletin quarterly Spadea (Wrap-around 4-pages of PB weekend edition)
- Monthly celebrations (Second Thursdays)
- Annual October Spirit Days
Rochester Mayor Kim Norton TV statement on Spirit Days in action: “My heart is full.” … OURS TOO!! Thanks Mayor Norton, and the good people of Rochester.
We have only just begun.
Large groups of Volunteers helped with leaf clean-up on Saturday, Oct. 24.
Boxes of food are given out during a Farmers to Families food distribution, providing 1,200 boxes of fresh produce FREE on Tues., Oct. 20, at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Rochester