Which part of the Easter story do you come back to every year? I have one. Though I have had to learn how to sit with the lament of Friday and Saturday of holy week and not hurry into the hallelujah of “Resurrection Sunday”… I come back to the place where the two men who glowed like lightening suddenly show up in the empty tomb and say to the confused and frightened women who loved Jesus,…
One of the ways we talk about this year at Neighborhood includes words like “incessant” and “relentless” … having to do with the tough and terrible things that have been part of the lives of the people we love, and our own, too. It hasn’t let up. Instead of trying to make sense of the way it is, we have just been moving through all the bad news and for the most part, trying not to give up. It is our attempt to reach for Jesus in it or commit to watching for a redemption that could reconfigure the pain; to intentionally look for signs of hope.
Jesus came to this very same earth, which just like today, was completely filled with bad news. Like you, I’m watching the broadcast about the horrific shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and found myself remembering the slaughter of the boy babies in Bethlehem. But, hope was born that Christmas night and as Methodist theologian Dr Lynn Harold Hough once said, “only the Word made flesh can give any sort of hope in a world as grim and ugly and hard and sordid as ours.”
So, we look for signs of hope here in the midst of our Neighborhood:
We love because God loved us. (1 John 1:9)
It is wonderful, as always to greet you. There is much happening at Neighborhood Ministries and we wanted to keep you updated.
We raced headlong into the Fall, with all our school year programs beginning. Here are just a few highlights of life at The Neighborhood Center: Katy’s Kids Pre-School launched enthusiastically into its second school year with two classrooms; the Fall garden is planted at Hope House; OpportuniTees is branching out with new customers; the Barrio Bike shop’s bike clinics are happening most afternoons, a new work force development grant is helping many youth and young adults, our young leaders have been mobilizing everyday getting out the vote, and strategic plans which consumed most of last year are in motion in all eight NM departments. I hope you will check out our newly updated web page which describes all we do most days.
It was 1999 when we began construction to see a community center built out of an old feed and seed mill. The ground breaking happened between two old warehouses on dirt that a shovel couldn’t penetrate hardened like concrete over a hundred years of operating a processing center for grain. In faith, we began that stage of rehab. This week we put shovels into the ground again; another act of faith, another stage in the series of transformative activities at The Neighborhood Center.
Many of you remember those days. It was astounding to you that God would imagine for us, and then through us, the transforming of this dilapidated and dangerous property and neighborhood. And if you couldn’t have afforded to help us or in some cases couldn’t even believe it was possible, you committed to pray.
Well, its time to pray again. To pray for the continued work of God, for this next adventure, for the impossible goals before us. The vision is great, and simple. After decades of working with youth, and almost a decade building a substantive pre-school, we are believing with God that an enormous and abandoned silo building is to be repurposed into one of the most interesting features on our property to date. A new education building – with an entire floor dedicated to early childhood development and associated parent education – and a second floor dedicated to youth, youth leadership development, youth outreach and college access.