Let There Be Light

Wendy McCaig–Embrace Richmond, Richmond, VA

Since April, a small group of us gather on Thursday’s at 12:30 and pray for a distressed four block commercial corridor along Brookland Park Boulavard.   While more than half of the buildings are abandoned, there are still a handful of merchants trying to make it in this very challenging business district.

One of these merchants is Francis who opened up a restaurant called “From the Hart” this summer.  From the Hart was the first business to open up after we began praying, so I believe we prayed her into the neighborhood.  For this reason, or perhaps it is because of her homemade banana pudding, From the Hart has become very near and dear to my heart.

Every week when we stop by and ask Francis how we can pray for her, she lights up.  About a month ago I was taking a group through the community and Francis shared that she would really like the city to put up more street lights or at least fix the broken ones closest to her store.  The one across the street was broken and the one down the block flickered off and on.  She had no light near her store and she felt customers were scared to stop in the evenings.

Last week Francis store was broken into and the thieves stole several items before the police arrived in response to the alarm.  Francis was upset and wondered if this location would ever yield a profit.

On the day Francis shared her prayer for lighting, a wonderful man named Ken Hurst was in our group.  This week, God used Ken to answer Francis prayer.  Rather than call the city about lighting, which Francis has been doing for six months, Ken called an electrician, purchased some flood lights, climbed on a ladder and lit the front of Francis’ store front.

This picture of Francis’ restaurant glowing brighter than all the other shops on Brookland Park Boulevard, warmed my heart.   As asset based community developers, we continually ask, “What can we do with what we have?”  Crime seems like such an overwhelming issue that most defer to the police or the city for answers.  However, if instead we responded like Ken and simply did what we can with what we have, I think we would be amazed by the impact.  I believe we could bring light to a dark world.

“Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Please continue to pray for Francis and for all the merchants across this country trying to build small businesses in the abandoned places of our nation.

Posted with permission from wendymccaig.com.  See original post here.


Recommended Reading: The Art of Neighboring


CFA Executive Director, Jay Van Groningen recommends The Art of Neighboring:  Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside Your Door by Jay Pathak & Dave Runyon.  Van Groningen says, “This book gives great examples and ideas for folks who are beginning to think about how to become a good neighbor/great neighbor.”  Read the synopsis below, and pass on this title to others.

“When Jesus was asked to sum up everything into one command, he said to love God with everything we have and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Most of us have turned this simple idea of loving our neighbors into a nice saying, putting it on bumper stickers and refrigerator magnets and then going on with our lives without actually putting it into practice.”

“What would happen if every follower of Jesus took the Great Commandment literally?  Is it possible that the solution to our society’s biggest issues has been right under our noses for the past two thousand years?”

The Art of Neighboring:  Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside Your Door

Adelita’s Gift: The Value of Asking the Right Questions

Watch Pastor Mike Mather of Broadway United Methodist Church in Indianapolis tell how one of his congregations started asking different questions, discovered Adele’s gift and got “a lotta great food” as a bonus.

Then join the conversation and share your comments on these questions:
What are you doing to identify the gifts, skills, passion of people in your neighborhood or the people that you serve? What are you doing to connect people based on these gifts?

Originally posted by Mike Mather on March 14, 2012 at Abundant Community.  Participate in a live conversation with John McKnight, Peter Block, and Mike Mather tomorrow at 1:00 PM Eastern.

Reposted with permission from abundantcommunity.com.  Video by Jack Pearpoint of Inclusion Press. Used with permission.

Community Building through Gifts

Check out this video with John McKnight and Peter Block….

One way of thinking about how communities get built is by seeing that the principal resource people have for the task is their gifts, skills, talents, capacities. So when we ask, “How could this neighborhood be built?” the answer is not about bringing in institutions to label people with their deficiencies and provide programs that enable their dependency. Building strong neighborhoods becomes a matter of everybody contributing as many of their gifts as they can to each other and to the whole.

Reposted from Abundant Community with permission.

44 Ways to Build Community

The work of Good Samaritan Ministries and CFA member, Judy Van Dyke are highlighted on the front page of  www.abundantcommunity.com.  Check out the post…

This thought-and action-provoking list of simple ways to build community is a poster circulating on the Internet. We found it on the Facebook page of GoodSamMinistries of Holland, MI.

Home page image: Leo  Reynolds

Posted with permission from http://www.abundantcommunity.com.

Center for Transforming Communities: Urban Immersion

Amy Moritz-Center for Transforming Communities- Memphis, TN

Communities First: Justice Q & A

John McKnight

John McKnight – Spring 2012

Q & A session at CFA member gathering 2012 with John McKnight. Illustrating unique ways communities identify strategies and organize collectively. What is the working definition of justice? Does it include a “faith perspective?” Is it a focus on issues and advocacy only or does it include a gifted community connected with relationships? McKnight discusses justice with CFA members: Dave Kool, Dan Hutt and Terri Larson.

Half of justice is the opportunity to freely give your gift and the other half is the vehicle from which it is given (structures).

Micah 6:8c “do justice” a call to action that includes loving kindness and walking      humbly with God.  Justice – a tool of God’s love that bends brokenness back towards shalom.

Communities First: Justice Q&A from CFA Videos on Vimeo.