CCC CARES–NO ‘IFS, ANDS, OR BUTS’
By LORETTA FULTON
Terry Cagle already had worked in two jobs with the intials CCC, so it was only natural that he would be attracted to the role of executive director of Connecting Caring Communities in Abilene.
His previous CCC jobs were with Christian Campus Center at Angelo State University and as a minister at Christ Community Church in Arlington. Before coming to Abilene in the summer of 2017, Cagle had been in vocational ministry, or a “preacher,” for 35 years.
“I’m an expert in talking in other people’s sleep,” he joked.
Cagle was guest speaker Oct. 17 for the Wednesday night program at First Central Presbyterian Church. Cagle talked about some of the programs sponsored by Connecting Caring Communities and things he has learned on the job. One is that it is vitally important to eat with people.
“If you read the gospels, Jesus did that well,” he said. “Jesus was comfortable eating at the table with everyone,” Cagle said.
Something else Cagle has learned is the concept of inclusive compassion, or the art of loving everyone.
“The compassion of God,” Cagle said, “does not have any ‘ifs, ands, or buts.'”
CCC does its work of community renewal through two citywide initiatives–Neighbor to Neighbor Network and We Care teams. Anyone can become a member of a We Care team by simply contacting CCC to get a “We Care” sign for the front yard.
Neighbor to Neighbor Network involves volunteering to be an “intentional neighbor” to everyone on your block. That means contacting all residents on the block so that they will know at least one neighbor. Purpose is to develop relationships and to be a contact for people on the block who may not have other support.
CCC operates in the College Heights neighborhood of Abilene, which is defined as the area between Ambler Avenue and North First Street and between Pine and Grape streets. Two CCC community coordintators and their families live in Friendshiop Houses in that area, David and Ashley Adams and Janet and Doug Mendenhall.
“A lot of what they do is just loving the neighbors,” Cagle said.
Cagle and his wife, Becki, live in the North Park Friendship House at Lowden and Hickory streets. The house also serves as the office of CCC.
Some of the other projects sponsored by CCC are a fall festival, back to school party, and summer leadership camps, held at Grace Fellowship on Cypress Street. Cagle’s explanation of what happens with the kids who attend a leadership camp could well apply to everyone Connecting Caring Communities serves.
“We accept them,” Cagle said, “love them, and give them purpose.”
A RACE ANYONE CAN ‘RUN’
Connecting Caring Communities is hosting an unusual “race” on Oct. 27 that everyone can “run.” Actually, the promoters say you can saunter, meander, walk, or even run. Instead of a 5K run this is a 0.5K walk. That’s 546 yards, which most people can manage. The event will be 11 a.m.-2 p.m., beginning at Pappy Slokum Brewery, 409 S. Treadaway Blvd., and ending at Sockdolager Brewing Co., 720 China St. Cost is $30. To register, go to www.wecareabilene.org and click on “Sign Up Here”Music, drinks, and food trucks will await the finishers. All registered participants will receive a custom finisher’s medal, which doubles as a coaster, a 0.5K sticker, and cool Tshirt. Participants also will receive free craft beer samples to help with hydration!