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New Beginnings

Reposted from CaringBridge:

I feel a great deal of ambivalence as I write for the last time on CaringBridge because it was the place where so much love connected us all to you and you to us as a family. And of course it was a time when Joshua was still with us. So there’s sadness in yet another good-bye to something significant in our last year together with Joshua.

But the bright side of this scenario is that it is also a new beginning. We are beginning to set up the Joshua Casteel Foundation and this will be, I pray, the new place of ongoing connection and communication of love received and love given. Although no longer writing on CaringBride, we will continue to communicate through Joshua’s website, www.joshuacasteel.com. While in time it will likely undergo a facelift (so bear with us!) we anticipate that the website will be the hub of information for the Foundation.

So much has happened these last few months it’s hard to know where to begin and what to include. So I will cut to the chase and let you know that as a result of donations that people have made to our family which we set aside to begin funding the Foundation, we have been able to make the first donations on behalf of the Joshua Casteel Foundation. These donations were given to peace ministries that had a significant impact in Joshua’s life as well as individual people in need. It has felt so good to see that Joshua’s desires are being fulfilled and that his message will continue on as well.

In addition to the personal donations we’ve received, a fundraising effort is being planned by the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) in Joshua’s honor. The fundraiser will be held in Chicago around the Memorial Day weekend. We are so appreciative of their ongoing support. As soon as details for this event are finalized we will share them on the new site.

As you can see, God is already blessing the Foundation and using it to help us heal as we see Joshua’s life go on in helping others and carrying on his message of love and reconciliation. We are so grateful to those of you who knew or worked with Joshua as we see that you are not forgetting about him and his desire to share that message with the world in a way that not only makes sense but makes a difference in people’s lives and the world as a whole. As you know, his hope and work towards peace was birthed out of a greater good and that is Love; love for God and for mankind as a whole, even his enemies. Without love, true peace is simply not possible. And our prayer is that love will always be what defines and guides all we do from the Joshua Casteel Foundation.

In that regard I want to share with you some very exciting news. On May 18th the Joshua Casteel House in Alliance, Ohio will be officially dedicated and blessed for ministry (http://alliancecatholicworker.org/ ). The Alliance Catholic Worker house opened their doors in May 2012 for an hour once a month as they met to plan and organize their future ministry trying to begin reaching out to those in need. After the decision to name it the Joshua Casteel House they began organizing more specifically, forming a web site and will begin serving meals this month. But it will be this May, a year later that it will open officially as the Joshua Casteel House. We (Rebekah, Naomi, and myself) will be there on May 18th for the official dedication and we are planning on giving them a donation from Joshua’s Foundation.

As I was thinking about this, I was asked by a very excited friend of Joshua’s( when she heard the good news of the dedication of the house in his name), if there was a need for donations. And as I thought about that, the answer being an obvious yes, I imagined that there are probably many more of you out there who loved Joshua as a friend or colleague that would want to be a part of the official start up of this new ministry now in his name along with us through the Joshua Casteel Foundation.

Then I began dreaming about how wonderful it would be if all of us who are a part of the group of Joshua Casteel Foundation donors could have an actual physical presence in the building. So in talking it over with the girls and with the staff we felt like it would be great to design a plaque with all of the names on it of those of you who desire to donate to the Joshua Casteel House. The plaque will have Joshua’s picture and the Joshua Casteel Foundation at the top as well as the names of everyone who has given. We will incorporate your gifts with ours and present it as a whole to the ministry from the Joshua Casteel Foundation at the dedication (details about donating are below). I am very excited about this possibility, that there might be many of you who journeyed through this battle with us, still joined with Joshua in helping this ministry get off the ground, and that you will be honored right along with him through the physical presence of the plaque. This seems only appropriate as so many of you have been a part of his life and work right up until his going home. How I wish I could wallpaper the whole building with all the names of those of you who gave so much to him and to us and who were a living part of who he was and who he became. (Not a had idea for the Foundation office, however….:-) While we want no one to feel any pressure whatsoever, as so many of you have given so much throughout our journey, we just ask that you do what you feel led to do and pray with us that God will bless this ministry as He sees fit. And of course, once again, we say thank you in advance and in retrospect for all the love that has gotten us to this point. We’re here doing these things now because of you.

So those are the highlights at the present time and we will keep you posted via his site regarding what is taking place within the Foundation, the Joshua Casteel House, and in our lives. There is still quite a bit of work we have to do to set up the Foundation (applying for 501(c)(3) status is priority #1) so it will be evolving over time throughout this next year, but we hope to be organized enough to keep you informed of what we are doing and what opportunities there may be for your involvement as well.

Our love, our prayers, and our hearts are with you all,

Kristi, Rebekah, Naomi (Joshua and Rick)

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DONATIONS FOR THE JOSHUA CASTEEL HOUSE:

Please send donations made out to the Joshua Casteel Benefit Account to the following address: Kristi Casteel, 285 34th Street, SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403. (This is temporary until the foundation is officially set up).

The Catholic Worker movement has a firm stance against being a 501(c)(3) status group (see below a statement about this from Dorothy Day). Because the Joshua Casteel Foundation will not have non-profit status for quite some time (the process can take up to a year or more), donations towards the Joshua Casteel House will not be tax deductible at this time.

**Dorothy Day: “We believe also that the government has no right to legislate as to who can or who are to perform the Works of Mercy. Only accredited agencies have the status of tax-exempt institutions. After their application has been filed, and after investigation and long delays, clarifications, intercession, and urging by lawyers – often an expensive and long-drawn-out procedure – this tax-exempt status is granted.

As personalists, as an unincorporated group, we will not apply for this ‘privilege.’ We have explained to our donors many times that they risk being taxed on the gifts they send us, and a few (I can only think of two right now) have turned away from us. God raises up for us many a Habakkuk to bring his pottage to us when we are in the lion’s den, or about to be, like Daniel of old.”

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