The mission of THE RESOURCE CENTER, INC., is to resource churches, schools, agencies, and individuals for ministry of all types in a diverse and ever-changing world.
Our vision is that the ministries and congregations of Metro Richmond will be living and lively examples of communities that practice hospitality and cherish diversity as a holy gift. They seek to grow in their own faith, to deepen their understanding of God’s love and justice and, for our patrons in the Christian tradition, to follow the admonition of Jesus to risk loving their neighbors.
Three core values guide what we do and what we offer: hospitality, diversity and creativity.
Practicing hospitality is an ancient mandate in the scriptures of many religious traditions, but hospitality is also a practice that is valued in many cultures and cuts across racial/cultural boundaries. Translated literally, the Greek word for hospitality means love of stranger; its essence is welcoming the stranger, acknowledging him or her as a human being made in the image of God, of equal worth with ourselves. Strangers may even be persons from whom we can learn something. As we work with patrons at The Resource Center, seeking to address their issues and needs, we know that we also learn from them, and that persons – – not those items on our shelves – – are our most important resources.
In 21st century America we are surrounded by a diversity that is bewildering to older generations who are already dealing with rapid change; however, younger generations are more likely to accept and celebrate diversity and feel at home in an increasingly global context. Our challenge is to learn to live with one another in peace, whether our neighbor is next door or across the globe. Education about cultural differences and similarities, together with opportunities to meet our neighbors and share our stories, are the first steps toward living together in peace. At The Resource Center we believe that this beautiful world in which we live and move and have our being is a world filled with diversity, that it has been so from the beginning, and that we are called to cherish diversity and share its beauty with others.
The biblical witness in the Christian and Jewish tradition is that God found joy and satisfaction in the divine act of creation, and that we are made in God’s image. Maria Harris suggests that our human calling is “to be in partnership with God to fashion even as we are being fashioned, attempting to realize our artistic capacities as this happens” (Fashion Me A People, 16). The world in which our children are growing up increasingly demands the capacity for creative thinking, fresh approaches, new insights. These things happen when we are free to be playful, to think outrageous thoughts, to welcome the unexpected. The Resource Center is a place where the work of artists around the world can be seen but, more important, where we offer and encourage hands-on experiences with the arts, where the promptings of the holy are trusted, and the arts serve as worthy vessels for those promptings.
It is useless to try to adjudicate
a longstanding animosity by asking who started it
or who is the most wrong.
The only sufficient answer is to give up the animosity
and try forgiveness,
to try to love our enemies and to talk to them
and (if we pray) to pray for them.
If we can’t do that, then we must begin again
by trying to imagine our enemies’ children who, like our children,
are in mortal danger because of enmity that they did not cause.
Wendell Berry, Orion, March/April 2003 (Quoted in Context, March 2004 Part B)