5 Small Loaves

$20,950 of $500,000 goal

Raised by 213 people in 55 months
Recent events, such as the shooting in Ferguson, MO and the “Trail of Tears” banner displayed at an OSU football game, have demonstrated how much ground our nation has yet to cover in the area of race relations.

Race, diversity and reconciliation is where 5 Small Loaves strives to be a source of education and dialogue, helping our nation and the church as they attempt to move towards restored relationships and communities. We also seek to expand the dialogue beyond the traditional “black and white” struggle that tends to dominate the attention of both the media and the nation. Our vision statement states that we are pursuing racial reconciliation through honest education, intentional conversation, and meaningful action. By engaging in topics of diversity in the church, systemic racism, and seeking healing for the indigenous hosts of this land (Native Americans), 5 Small Loaves strives to be a voice and a leader for communities and people groups that have been underrepresented or misrepresented in both the nation and the church.

Our organization is working hard to connect with new partners as we continue to grow our work and expand our financial capacity, seeking to fully fund our staff and our projects. Would you consider contributing $5 - or anything else as you can afford – to help us continue in our efforts to educate through articles, speaking events, consultations, seminars, mission planning, and conference planning?

Over the past 6 months, our newly formed organization has gained some great momentum. We have 2 new partners, and we have recently opened a coffee shop to better engage with our local community. Over the next few months, 5 Small Loaves has many projects in progress:

Retracting the 2010 Apology to Native Peoples: In 2012 we worked hard to make this buried apology known by hosting a public reading of it in front of the US Capitol building. This year we are going to take this campaign one step further by starting a petition on the White House website asking President Obama to retract this disrespectful and inadequate apology. 100,000 signatures are required within 30 days in order for the issue be addressed by the White House. We will begin this campaign on Columbus Day 2014 and run it through Thanksgiving Day 2014.

Would Jesus Eat Frybread? Conference: An annual Native American Christian conference for college students will be held this year on the Fond du Lac reservation in Minnesota in November. This conference is planned in partnership with CRU, InterVarsity and the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and provides space for Native students to ask questions like "What does it mean to be Native American and be a Christian?"

Doctrine of Discovery: Educating our nation and churches on this over-looked and yet extremely foundational doctrine that has led the church, the nations of Europe, and the United States down a path of dehumanizing other races for the sake of discovering and laying claim to lands not their own.

Blanket Exercise: Development of a tool to honestly educate through an experiential and participatory exercise that exposes people to the injustices against Native Americans by the United States government. (In partnership with the Christian Reformed Church of North America)

Missions: Developing a Navajo mission team to help rebuilding efforts in the Philippines. Also creating informational guides and training to American churches and mission agencies to come to Native communities through methods that empower its intended recipients.

Southwest CCDA Regional Conference: A newly developed networking and learning conference for CCDA (Christian Community Development Association) ministries from Texas to California. Our organization is hosting this premier conference on the Navajo reservation in April 2015.

We have been committed to this work and to projects like these for many years, often operating on a shoe-string budget. By being fully-funded, we look forward to investing more focused time to complete these projects and explore other conversations that we can initiate and be engaged in. We invite your help, prayers and financial support in our work of pursuing racial reconciliation through honest education, intentional conversation and meaningful action.

Mark Charles

*5 Small Loaves does not currently have non-profit status and is unable to provide tax deductible receipts. We are in the process of establishing a fiscal partnership with another organization that will be able to provide us with a 501(c)(3). We expect this partnership to be finalized before the end of the 2014 calendar year.
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Ya'at'eeh my relatives. Rachel and I would like to ask for your prayers. It has become increasingly clear that our current financial and living situation here in Washington DC is not sustainable. As of yesterday we are now a full month behind on our rent, meaning we owe 2 months worth of rent. I have been in communication with our landlord to discuss and workout our situation. Our financial challenges here in DC have been 3 fold.
First, living in DC is incredibly expensive. We are renting a small house in a lower income neighborhood and still our monthly rent is extremely high.
Second, due to the children's school schedule, and my heavy travel schedule, we have not yet found a workable part time employment situation for Rachel. Which means our primary source of income is my speaking and writing. And that income fluctuates greatly. On good months it is sustainable and covers our expenses but frequently it does not. Last March, I had no paid speaking engagements and therefore our income plummeted. We have since put more focus into writing, crowd funding and seeking out smaller speaking gigs, but even that has not significantly raised our income.
And third, even many of my paid speaking gigs have not been paying me in a timely manner. For example, I am currently waiting for nearly $2,000 in promised payments, most of which I expected over a month ago!

Yet, throughout all of this God has not forgotten us. We have not gone hungry. Our landlord has been incredibly patient and most of our regular monthly bills have been covered. And on top of that, our work is growing and moving forward in almost every aspect, except financial.

It has been an incredible benefit to live in DC. With 3 major airports within 45 minutes, my travel is easier and the trips much shorter. DC is such a hub that I am frequently invited to meet and speak with people and organizations that just happen to be in town. But probably most significant is that our children are finally adjusting to DC and their new school. They are making friends and getting involved in clubs and after school activities.

Our prayer right now is for a sustainable income and living situation. We know our rent is high, but it is actually some of the most affordable we have found in the District for a family our size. And we are not excited about moving out of the District because that would mean putting our kids in a new school once again. So ideally we would like to stay in our current home. Here are a few ways we would like to ask you to pray.

1) Please pray that God will increase the monthly giving to our crowdfunding campaign. In March we posted an update regarding the financial challenges of our work and why we are crowdfunding ( http://bit.ly/1TcdwyP). We welcome you you read that update and share it. We would love to gain more supporters, both one time and monthly, regardless of the size of the gift. We are grateful to you for supporting us in the past and welcome you to consider supporting our work moving forward.

2) Please pray for a well paying, part time, flexible schedule job for Rachel in a field that both interests and challenges her.

3) Please pray for more opportunities to preach in churches in DC and throughout the region. I am beginning to get my name out locally to preach in churches. Not only would this help supplement our income but it would also get us more connected to churches and ministries on the east coast.

4) Please pray for more opportunities to speak (both paid and unpaid) about the Doctrine of Discovery and Truth and Conciliation. This is why we moved to DC in the first place. Please pray that despite the uncertainty and financial challenges we are facing we will not deter from the work we have been called to do.

5) Please pray that in spite of everything, God's will be done. We make plans. We hear imperfectly. And our faith is weak. But at the end of the day our primary prayer is that God's will be done.

Ahé'hee my relatives. Thank you for standing with us.

Mark and Rachel Charles

* 5 Small Loaves is not a 501(c)(3) and therefore cannot offer tax deductible receipts for donations. We are in the process of renewing a fiscal partnership with the Christian Indian Center in Denver CO so they can provide tax deductible receipts on our behalf. If you are interested in giving through that offline process, please contact me.
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Ya'at'eeh and greetings from my flight from Washington DC to Chicago. I am currently on my way to the spring CCDA Board meetings. I have had the privilege of serving on this volunteer board for the past 4+ years and look forward to these opportunities to vision and plan for the organization as well as connect with so many friends and partners. Later this week, on Wednesday, I will be traveling to Minnesota and for 3 days will spend time in Minneapolis, St. Paul and on the Fond du Lac reservation. I frequently am invited to speak about the Doctrine of Discovery around the country but recently concluded that I needed to be even more proactive in this work. For that reason, I am beginning to initiate some of my own travel. This allows me to be more proactive in starting conversation and connecting with partners and work that is already taking place. And this trip to Minnesota is a great example of that. I am personally connected with several partners and 2 different churches that are working extensively with the Doctrine of Discovery in the Minneapolis area. This trip will allow me to learn more about what they are doing, partner with them in a few events, make plans for future work and speak at a University that I have not previously been connected with (Bethel University in St. Paul). The positive side of initiating travel like I am doing this week is the opportunity to be more strategic in the partners I work with and the projects I am connected to. The challenge of initiating travel like this is that most of the expenses and my time are unfunded. But it is challenges like this which is why we began our crowdfunding campaign. The Doctrine of Discovery is a difficult and shameful part of American and Church history. And it is not something that most people, congregations, communities or organizations are eager to engage with. Because of that, the model of speaking only where I am invited (and paid) to speak is not the best way to address this deeply buried injustice. I am convinced that if a broader conversation regarding race is to be started, then the Doctrine of Discovery needs to be taught in as many places as possible. I thank you deeply for your support and partnership of this work in the past and would like to invite you to continue partnering with us this week to help fund this trip to Minnesota, and many others like it, in the future.


Mark (and Rachel) Charles
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The first time I spoke publicly about a vision for a national Truth (and Conciliation) Commission in response to the Doctrine of Discovery and the buried unjust history of the United States was back in early 2015. I had just written a blog article titled "The Doctrine of Discovery- A Buried Apology and an Empty Chair." This article laid out specifically what the Doctrine of Discovery is, how it influenced the very foundations of our nation, and exposed the unjust and violent history that resulted from it. It also deconstructed American exceptionalism and articulated a vision for a national dialogue on race, a Truth Commission. While this article did not go viral, it did get an incredibly wide reading and was liked, shared, republished, linked to and referenced hundreds, even thousands of times.

A few weeks later, I received an email from Brian McLaren. He had read the article and was extremely excited about the dialogue it attempted to initiate. He offered to help in any way he could. Not long after that, he told me that he was invited to speak at a conference called Christianity 21 in Phoenix, and if I could meet him there, he would give me his plenary session! At that point, I did not know Brian very well (he has since become a great partner and friend), but I was touched by his offer and found my way down to Phoenix. His plenary was scheduled for the second day of the conference. On that first day we made each other’s acquaintance, hung out and got to know each other better. It did not take me long to realize that Brian is a very popular author who is quite well known! In fact, I suspect many people attended the conference primarily to hear him speak.

The next day he began his scheduled plenary session by telling the audience that sometimes it is important for the voice from the dominant culture to step aside and allow other voices to be heard. He then introduced me. I took the stage with a certain amount of fear and trembling as I realized the extent of the risk Brian was taking and the incredible trust he was placing in me. My name was not on the program, no one in the audience had any idea who I was, and I am quite certain that the Doctrine of Discover was even less known. I had approximately 18 minutes and quickly brought them through the Doctrine of Discovery, exposed the buried, violent and unjust history of the United States, deconstructed American Exceptionalism, and then called them to lament as a way to prepare ourselves for a long overdue and much needed national dialogue on race. At the end of the session, Brian joined me on stage and we shared some final comments together. As we walked off the stage I was completely unsure how the people would respond.

The audience then gave a long standing ovation. And for the remainder of the conference, I barely had a moment to myself as many people wanted to ask questions and to follow up on the dialogue that was initiated in the plenary session.

Several weeks later, I received an email from Gabe Lyons, the founder of the Q Ideas conference. He had been in discussion with another good friend of mine, David Bailey, who had strongly recommended me as a speaker at the upcoming Q conference in Boston. Gabe asked me to speak about the Doctrine of Discovery. Again, I took that stage with a certain amount of fear and trepidation. Both David and Gabe were taking a huge risk. Hardly anybody in the audience knew me and even fewer knew much about the Doctrine of Discovery. On top of that, the conference was being held in an old historic theatre in downtown Boston, just blocks away from the harbor where John Winthrop preached his sermon “A Model of Christian Charity.” And my plenary talk was titled “A City on a Hill?" (with a question mark). In the presentation, I again identified the Doctrine of Discovery, exposed the buried and unjust history of the US, deconstructed American exceptionalism, pointed out the faulty theological assumptions of John Winthrop’s City on a Hill sermon, and called the audience to lament in preparation for a national dialogue on race.

Because of the bright lighting on the stage, I could not see the audience, and they were mostly silent throughout the presentation. So when I completed my remarks and walked off the stage, I again did not have a clue how the people would respond.

About a minute later, Gabe came back stage and said, "Mark, I need to bring you back up. They are still standing and applauding."

After the session I was approached by a man who helped me understand what was behind the audience’s response. He said, "Mark, I'm sorry we gave you a standing ovation. That was not the response your session called for. But as an audience we had no other way to tell you that we heard you and deeply appreciated your honest words."

For the next two days, I again barely had a moment to myself as many people wanted to speak with me and ask questions as they grappled with the history that was presented.

An Invitation to Risk with Us
So why am I sharing this with you now? Because this work cannot be done alone. For the past year, speaking, writing, and educating people about the Doctrine of Discovery has been my full time job. But unfortunately, it is not a well-paying, or even a financially sustainable one. When the leaders, organizations and audiences are taking such substantial risk just to create a space to deliver or hear a message on the Doctrine of Discovery, coming up with the finances to adequately compensate the messenger is extremely difficult. A few of my invitations to speak come with an adequate honorarium. But many do not. As a result, our income fluctuates greatly. Some months it pays our bills and other months it doesn’t even come close.

There is a small but growing number of people, organizations, institutions and leaders who are willing to take a risk and create space for a conversation regarding the Doctrine of Discovery. But if speakers like myself make honorariums and paid expenses mandatory before accepting invitations, this conversation will never get started. Our priority must be on meeting people, and organizations, where they are at and acknowledging the risks they are taking just to be there.

And that is where we need your continued help.

We are grateful for your past gifts and would deeply appreciate any future contributions you can make. Your gifts help compensate our time, cover our expenses and expand this work so we can continue to take this conversation anywhere people are willing to engage it, without being concerned about how much we are paid. My hope for the next step, is to move past simply accepting invitations and actually begin planning events and intentionally bringing this dialogue to communities around the country, almost like a campaign.

The Doctrine of Discovery has been buried in our nation’s foundations since they were written. This history will not be exposed by accident. It must intentionally be uncovered. And such intentionality involves risk and cannot be done alone. We are grateful you have chosen to come along.

*5 Small Loaves does not have non-profit status and is unable to provide tax deductible receipts. Mark has established a partnership with the Christian Indian Center which is able to provide tax deductible receipts for gifts given off-line.
Audience at Christianity 21 Conference
Tweets from Q Boston Conference
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Ya'at'eeh everyone. We are in the process of moving our crowdfunding to a new campaign on this same site, but in the mean time this campaign is still open and able to accept donations. Our latest update is in video format and gives an introduction to a Truth and Conciliation Commission in 2021.

Thanks again for your support, encouragement and partnership.

Mark Charles
Introduction to Truth and Conciliation
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Read a Previous Update
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$20,950 of $500,000 goal

Raised by 213 people in 55 months
Created June 2, 2014
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Kiersti and Anthony Giron
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