Greetings to the Holy People of God,
Thank you for all those who attended the adult forum on Sunday, April 28. We enter into that stage of finding the sweet spot, where listening to God, listening to each other and listening to the neighborhood come together. It is a stage that we enter into with curiosity and experimentation. As the disciples were first called with, “come and see”, we too will move forward with a kind of expectancy of what God will do next with us.
The neighbors we met were Johnson County Neighborhood Center, Walden Place and Melrose Meadows, West High School, Borlaug, Horn and Weber Elementary Schools, All Nations Baptist Church and UI Credit Union and Hartig Drug Store. In our conversations, the idea of “partnership” moved us forward in conversation. The Neighborhood Center of Johnson Co. serves a large territory, like we do. They have a working relationship with the schools. We all care about children and youth and involve ourselves with food insecurities. CTK partners with elementary school parents in providing take home food for the weekend in families where food is scarce. The West High School has a food pantry. Schools face language and transportation challenges for both students and parents.
All Nations Baptist Church truly lives into their name as they host Korean, Sudanese, and Hispanic worshiping communities. They have preschool and daycare. And draw people from a large geographic area. Their facility is large with several worshiping areas.
A common theme that emerged from our visits with UI Credit Union, Hartig Drug, Walden Place and Melrose Meadows was building trust within the neighborhood and the transient nature of our communities.
As we have put all this together, we want to encourage our easy entry relationships through our preschool and community garden. These are the best ways that we get to know our neighbors. Consider coming to preschool graduation at 9:00 am on May 23 & 24 or being a mystery reader or volunteering with community garden. Be curious and visit these places. Drive the back driveway and if someone is gardening, stop and say hi and ask them how their garden is doing. Be a good neighbor.
None of our neighbors know us very well, nor do we know them. One idea that rose to the surface in our Lead Team meetings through this listening process is the possibility of hosting “National Night Out” on Tuesday, August 6 for our neighborhood as an opportunity to get to know each other better. “National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes strong police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live and work.” (natw.org)
This would give us the opportunity to get to know our neighbors in a safe and trusting environment. We need your help. If this is something that you could invest time and energy in and commit to, please let the LEAD Team know how you can help. This is something we need to do together. The Lead Team is not going to do it for you or on your behalf. We need your commitment and your presence. The people of our community need to get to know us – all of us, the “us” that makes us CTK so that God’s love and light can shine in tangible ways.
We are experimenting. This is something that uses the gift of King Park to reach out in a concrete way to our neighbors with hospitality. We all want this to be a safe neighborhood. Ideas that we have discussed would be inviting the Police, the Fire Department, Public Transportation, Book Mobile, Hartig Drug and UI Credit Union. It would be nice to have live music and maybe invite a food truck and/or provide some sort of simple snack. Let us know your thoughts and your willingness to help with this event.
Some of the other ideas that came to the surface as a result of our meetings with our neighbors and the talents of our community include hosting the Free Health Clinic, hosting Parent Teacher Organization and adopting a class room at the Johnson County Neighborhood Center.
Your Lead Team invites to you to pray, to talk with one another about this and to share your thoughts with the Lead Team.
Believing It Boldly Loving Expansively,
Pastor Connie Spitzack
Mary Knudson Dion
Intern Nicole Hanson-Lynn