Admittedly it’s been a while since I wrote. I haven’t filled you in on the crafts the kids and I have made or the lessons we’ve learned during Lent. I’m sorry – if that’s the part of my blog you like best – I am sorry I’ve neglected you. I’ve had a few things going on…

Almost a year ago the board of Urban Connections decided to put staff time and money toward broader community development. Wholistic ministry has always been central to our vision, and now it is central to our daily lives.  When we made a list last summer of what “community development” would look like, the list was daunting. But we needed a place to begin, so we chose manageable goals and set out to see what God would do.  Building partnerships, beautification, and celebration are all now part of our regular vocabulary.
I wrote in a past UC newsletter that it was encouraging at the beginning to see how God was already moving toward the goals we had set. Partnerships started to emerge in the neighborhood and we quickly realized we weren’t alone.

One of our choices was to spend some of our efforts on celebration. You might not call it that, but surely in your community you can pinpoint the things you have that make life there fun. Memorial day parades. Fourth of July Fireworks. Community Picnics. I’ve lived in my neighborhood nine years and haven’t seen my neighbors given much reason or opportunity to celebrate within their community. So we partnered with Central Community House and Leap of Faith to write a “Building Pride on the East Side” grant, with the goal being 13 block parties, regular community dinners, and expanding the Columbus Children’s Parade in our neighborhood. I found out today that we got that grant.

No, wait. Listen carefully.

We. Got. That. Grant! 

THIS is reason to celebrate! But I’m not just excited about the money. I’m excited that someone saw fit to help us give our community a reason to party. A reason to come together, get to know each other … and PARTY!

And that’s not all I’m excited about. Partnerships are blooming. 2 different church groups joined us last Saturday for neighborhood cleanup. This isn’t news, it’s happened before. But this time something exciting happened. First: The block watch joined us. It’s a small but fun group and they are committed to seeing the neighborhood put it’s best foot forward. I was so excited that they agreed to help! And THEN: neighbors saw us in an alley and came out to join us!  They noticed, and then they sprang to action. A couple of them commented on things like “I thought I was going to have to clean up all that junk by myself some day”. They never considered that other people – people who don’t even live here – would help those of us that DO live here to make things nicer. YOU can make that kind of difference.

Our tagline under “Urban Connections” is “connecting with Christ, connecting with People, Developing our Community Together”. It’s happening my friends. People are connecting with one another, with Christ… and the community is benefitting. Get on board!

Granted Progress