This phrase could easily serve as the rallying cry for the Near Neighborhood Ministries task force.
Listening has been THE main focus of our work for the past seven months. Not many of our members live or work in our Near Eastside neighborhood so our plan included engaging with over 20 neighborhood organizations and most importantly, personally reaching out to our neighbors via a series of “Listening Sessions” held at the Church.
If we are to achieve our goal of the Church contributing to the overall health, equity, sustainability, and vibrancy of our neighborhood, then we better listen and listen well.
Here is what we heard:
- Historically, we have not been deeply engaged with the residents of the neighborhood.
- A few BSPC members have nurtured good relationships with key neighborhood organizations.
- The socio-economic status of our neighbors now ranges broadly.
- Our neighbors want to see us be PRESENT; active participants in the neighborhood’s activities to create deeper relationships.
- Perhaps even the Church playing the role of a ”Communication Hub” -helping to connect neighbor to neighbor.
- Our neighborhood’s status as a food desert led to a request for the Church to find partners to create a Food Co-op or grocery store.
- Perhaps due to the Church’s previous youth programs, our neighbors would like to see us partner to offer youth experiential programs.
- The close proximity of many of our members’ residences allows us to make a positive impact on neighborhood businesses.
- Perhaps our members’ extensive business knowledge could be put to use to help grow sales.
- For older residents, there is a desire to reinvigorate our home repair team to assist with needed repairs.
Clearly, seven months of listening to the neighborhood has provided a playbook for how the residents and organizations perceive the role of the Church in contributing to the overall health, equity, sustainability, and vibrancy of our great neighborhood.
Speaking of listening, we would love to receive your responses to the input we have received, as well as the ways you are interested in engaging.
We invite you to share your responses and ideas here in the comment section of this blog, and also to join the Near Neighborhood Partnering Ministry Advisory Committee on Zoom on Tuesday, June 21, at 7:00 p.m. The link will be in this Saturday’s News & Announcements email.
If you are not already subscribed to the weekly News & Announcements emails that we send on Saturday mornings, click here to subscribe.
We value your interest in this effort.
-Written by Kenny Brown
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