Learn about how churches should connect with their community through the eyes of newly elected State-Rep Nika Elugardo. Nika is a devout follower of Jesus Christ, and Nika and her team knocked on hundreds of doors to understand the needs and opportunities of the community as she ran for office to the 15th Suffolk/Norfolk District, which includes the neighborhoods of Brookline, Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, and Roslindale. Last fall, she won her election in 2018 to become MA State Representative in this district!
Kelly Fassett, UniteBoston’s Executive Director, interviewed Nika as part of a revisioning process for River of Life Church in Jamaica Plain. Listen to the 10-minute interview to hear Nika’s advice for how churches should engage in their community, including getting involved with existing community initiatives by showing up consistently and building relationships. These relationships can be great bridges to help share the gospel in everyday life.
Key points that Nika shares in the interview:
- In her conversations with Boston residents, Nika found that people are looking for integrity, transparency, and leaders who will boldly fight for justice.
- In her work in the Massachusetts State House, she is focused on changing the policies within three pillars: housing, healthcare, and education. She is seeking to change laws that have systematically shut out certain groups of people from accessing the resources they need, including youth, elders, LGBTQ + populations, people with disabilities, and people impacted by mass incarceration. She describes her need to consider how God’s love and justice play into these policy decisions, and that love and justice cannot be disconnected from one another.
- Her advice for how Christians should get involved in their neighborhood: “Throughout Boston, people from age 4 to 94 are doing a ton of things, so all you have to do is show up and build relationships. People are so welcoming when people are consistent. Just open the newspaper or go online, find out what is already happening and join in to a group of people that are doing something that you care about. Consistency is key. Churches shouldn’t over-programmatize community engagement; rather, just go and be part of what is already going on in your neighborhood because people would be delighted to have consistent friends.”