Friday, September 11, 2009

Community Visions

Here is another updated report on what and how our missional community of faith is doing in our northedge of Tulsa.

Recent sightings of the Spirit here in our community:
we had a wonderful start of Community Visions last Saturday where we worked with OU social work students on turning some of our dreams into grant realitiies and projects in the areas of food and justice, animal justice and safety, neighborhood justice and transforming abandoned buildings and lots into pocket parks and more spaces for community gardening and community events. The overall arc is to continue with our becoming an inside-out incarnational community; we turned our church inside out into A Third Place Center, and now we are looking at decentralizing and spreading out A Third Place into a movement that can be located wherever we are called.

On Saturday Sept. 19 the next round of Community Visions will take place at A Third Place as we hear back from the graduate students on their research since our meeting. We will also on that day have a Community Volunteer Appreciation Lunch in coordination with OU. And the final presentations will take place on Saturday Oct. 17. Come see community in action where people least expect it, and how they least expect it. And Wednesday Sept. 23 at 6:30 pm we will have a planning Board meeting. Much to celebrate.

We had our Plant Rescue church without walls last Sunday; communion service at the Center followed by guerilla gardening at a site that will become a skateboard and soccer complex, rescuing native plants that will be transplanted to our new gardening project at the Cherokee School here. And we have our common meals to round out our time of sharing Sunday together.

This Sunday we will have our monthly time of holy conversation lifting up experiences of the last week or last month that have moved us closer to God, opened us up to Love and Joy and Service, moments perhaps of transformation, and also those things that have caused us to struggle with this walk of faithfulness. Next Sunday, Sept. 20, will be a chance to ask me anything about my odyssey of faith, of this community and visions, and sign up for your chance to do an oddyssey and present those things that sustain you.

The Big Garden Party and free lunch will be held at Cherokee School, 6001 N. Peoria Ave., on Saturday, Sept. 26. Come for all or only a part of it; bring youth groups, friends, the curious, etc. From 8 am we will begin transforming the landscape into a kid-friendly garden vs. a maintenance-worker friendly one. We will also have our semiannual Free Seed and Plant and Garden Exchange; bring to share, take what you find you need. And we will have a lunch at noon and tour of the school where my wife and I met 50 years ago in kindergarden. We will continue planting all afternoon. Right now the art teacher has to keep her blinds down because of the ugly view out the windows; we want to change that with a prairie garden; right now all over our north Tulsa area the landscapes at the elementary schools are abysmal, the grass goes uncut, unsightly utility fixtures are prominent in front, and we wonder why the schools are called at-risk. Neighborhood revitalization can be started at the schools and beginning at Cherokee we want to begin sowing these seeds at our other schools here too.

At worship lately we have been talking about the power of words in our simple common liturgy, how these words help us to live faithfully to a vision broader and more loving than the words we hear so much of the rest of our lives coming from the television, from work, even from our families and friends. Every Sunday we say together words of the ages such as the Lord's Prayer, the Beatitudes, Micah's admonition to live justly, love mercy, walk humbly with our God, and the Psalmist call to know this is the day which God has made so let us rejoice and be glad therein; each Sunday we break the bread and drink of the cup (by intinction) and talk about all the different meanings held for us in the ordinary act, sacrament of communion; sometimes we focus on unity, sometimes forgiveness, sometimes liberation from oppression, sometimes a theology of enough, this past Sunday on what it signifies about being a part of a Body, of Christ, of Creation, of sharing despite our differences and validating our differences and we have many. Many of the words we will be absorbing this year will come from the Gospel of Mark we incorporate into our time together this year, in small doses. I have been and will be doing some longer reflections on Mark in one of my online bible study groups and will also be posting them at Planting God Communities

These words we try to live out all the rest of the week. Sometimes individually, and so we hope that the common songs we sing and will be learning become a part of our daily lives, as do the prayer words and blessings; We try to live them our together too getting together at odd times to hang out, to do small projects, to share life and thanks. And attending community events together like the wider community association meeting Tuesday Sept. 29 at 7 pm, the upcoming Taste of North Tulsa Event at McLain High School on Thursday Oct. 8 that will be free to all, and to see all kinds of opportunities for get-togethers go to

We will have community breakfast and random acts of kindness this Saturday at 9 am beginning with breakfast at the Odd Fellows Lodge, 6227 N. Quincy.

We are starting a walking club called Souls and Soles you will be hearing more about; we are going to explore new transformations of the Center with times for workdays to do it; and through it all every day we offer a place well into the night for people to meet, share, find out information, get and give donations of clothes, food, books, and more. We will be starting a movie and social justice documentary times. The seeds continue to be sown. All that you have read about up to this point happens often with one or two people, sometimes four, sometimes a dozen; that's what it means to be missional minded.

Come see.

Type rest of the post here

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