For the past five months, the UniteBoston Reps have been engaging in various activities to listen and learn from their communities. These next four weeks, each rep will be writing a brief blog to share their findings with the Greater Boston Christian community.
We dream of having every community in Boston connected with a UB Rep! UB Rep Cohorts begin in October and extend to May. If you’re interested in being a UB Rep in your community, email Kelly Steinhaus, firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credit: Flickr.com
By Ralph Kee, UniteBoston Rep: South End
I’ve been encouraged to see how God is working throughout the South End. Recently, pastors or designated representatives of churches that meet in or within a couple of blocks of the South End have been holding 2-hour meetings together every six weeks for the last year, for the purpose of South End focussed Great Commission collaboration. Fifteen churches have attended at least one meeting, with an average of six or so churches and twelve or so people at each meeting. The South End itself is about one square mile with some 35,000 residents, and there are 35 churches of all kinds are listed in the South End, so as you can see, the need is great.
At each of the meetings, individuals representative of various Boston endeavors have presented their work, their needs, as well as their offers to help South End churches, collectively or individually. At recent meetings, there has been discussions on helping South End public schools, helping reduce South End street violence, helping families affected by violence, connecting with Tenants Development Corporation, and helping refugees adjust to Boston. In addition to this, a collaborative outdoor Easter Sunrise Service was held in a South End park, with components of the service led by five of the churches and about forty people in attendance.
There are many realities facing the South End of Boston at this time, such as the ongoing loss of church buildings to high-end condos, the increasing number of millionaires, and the reality that whole new mini-neighborhoods are being constructed in or near the South End. Christians need to address these current realities, and collectively come up with an answer to the question: how do the churches put their expertise to work collaboratively for further South End Kingdom-building? And can we collaboratively be out in the coffee shops and in the parks this summer doing some friendship building and evangelism? These are things for the South End churches themselves to decide. And then, as led, do.
The group is now at a critical point. After a year of meetings, concrete results need to be seen if interest is to continue. Unless this kind of endeavor produces two things at the same time: added strength and growth to individual participating churches and at the same time added additional strength and growth and evangelistic success to the whole Body of Christ in the South End, interest and participation in this endeavor will lapse. We hope this effort to collaborate will be successful.
We praise God for UniteBoston, for its commitment to neighborhood focussed collaborative vision-building and practice. My UniteBoston prayer walk around the INK Block construction was a memorable prayer walk. Getting the UniteBoston Reps that focus on various Boston neighborhoods regularly around the same table is critical. Constantly learning from each other and encouraging each other is basic to success That’s what they did in the Book of Acts and what we need to do in Boston, and UniteBoston is helping enable this to happen.