Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What God and A Few Missional Minded (UU Christians) Can Do

Can you get five people, more or less, together to change the world? Here is a current status update on what can result. Yours will look different. But you can do it. Let me just say faith is so much a part of everything we've done, including forming a non profit that is not officially faith-based. Faith that is for us grounded in the intersection of Jesus and Freedom, faith that leads us to work with people of many faiths, faith that must take form to be real, and for us that form is below, and we can just begin to dream and imagine what the form will be in another three years. Glory Glory Halleluia!.

A Third Place Community Center
History, Mission, Values, Vision

A 501c3 grassroots volunteer-based community development initiative
for Tulsa’s northern-edge neighborhoods
6514 N. Peoria Ave. Turley OK 74126; 918-794-4637

Our Name: “A Third Place” refers to the types of public civic spaces where people meet with those who are different in many ways from themselves, for forming community spirit and connections for the greater community life. The “first place” may be the home; the “second place” may be work or a religious body or association of like-minded people; the “third place” is a diverse, and free, community space.

Our History: In January 2007 just a handful of Turley area residents, having met as a church that had begun in the area in 2004 and in the suburban community of Owasso in 2003, decided to transform themselves by moving and renting a larger space to create a free community center for all residents living in a two mile radius, primarily in zip codes 74126, 74130. A Third Place Community Center was born. At the same time we began work toward creating partnerships and our new non-profit community development foundation. In Fall 2009 the A Third Place Community Foundation received its IRS status. Although members of a single church began it, and office space is rented and shared with a national religious organization, Board members now have a variety of faith affiliations and the Foundation is not categorized as a faith-based group. Below are listed many projects and partnerships to date.

Our Service Area: A two mile radius—from 46th to 86th Sts North, and Highway 75 to Osage County Line---was chosen because it is the area in which our residents live, primarily shop, go to school, use services, and many work. It is also a bridge area connecting incorporated and unincorporated urban neighborhoods of great ethnic and age diversity. We are in the area of greatest poverty and lowest life expectancy in the Tulsa area.

Our Mission: To Change The World Though Small Acts of Justice Done with Great Love.

Our Vision: Creating many diverse kinds of “a third place” centers and connections for the development of community life, especially in areas of greatest social fragmentation.

Our Values: Welcoming All Who Welcome All. Creating Safe and Civil Space For Building Relationships Across Divides of Race, Age, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Physical Abilities, Economic Conditions, Political Persuasions, Religious Affiliations, and National Origins. Dedicated to Sustainability in our Native, Natural Environment, and in promoting “smart growth”.

Our Guiding “4Rs” Principles: Retaining Residents while developing community life. Re-location (of people, families, services, businesses, etc.) into our currently abandoned, neglected, underserved, low-income areas. Re-Distribution of Justice, Health, Goods, Spirit, Hidden Resources of Strength. Reconciliation among separated people, families, neighborhoods, races and cultures, religions, and other groups.

Our Current Projects: The Community Center Meeting Space For Making New Friends and Dreaming New Dreams…OU Community Medicine Clinic…Community Resource Information…Our Own Library….Free Internet Center….Food Pantry, including dog food…Giving Room for clothing and other items….Art Gallery…Music Coffeehouse Concerts…Community Meals and Feeding and Nutrition Programs….Children's Area and Library….Television watching and Game Playing….Community Festivals and Holiday Celebrations….Community meetings….Community development service-learning projects between residents and OU graduate students….Nutrition Class, Diabetes Class, other classes as part of grassroots Community Academy….Sewing Project…Arts and Crafts Gatherings and Projects….Let Turley Bloom community gardening and community orchard and roadside beauty….12 Step Recovery….Saving Pets of Turley

Our Current Partnerships: OU Graduate School of Social Work…...OU Community Medicine…..Cherokee Elementary School…OBrien Park…Turley Community Association….Healthy Cornerstore Initiatives….McLain High School Initiative….North Tulsa Economic Development Initiative….House District 72 Community Coalitions “from Turley to TU”….TU SEED Law Clinic….OU Tulsa Urban Design Studio…. The Living Room Church….Turley United Methodist Church…Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship…The Lighthouse 12-Step Recovery….North Tulsa Farmers Market….Pending partnership with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, and more all the time. If you read this and are interested, let us know how we can help your mission come true in our area.

Our Dreams: 1. Purchase and renew the historic but abandoned 10,500 square foot Turley Methodist Church building and properties near 59th and N Peoria to expand into and create a Community Center for Body, Mind, Spirit, moving and transforming our clinic and current projects into this newer better space with room to grow new projects connected with our community gardens and food justice work; 2. purchase and transform a hilltop acre at 60th and N. Johnstown overlooking downtown, a “city block”, with two abandoned dilapidated homes and transform the space into The LivingKitchen Garden Pocket Park for growing, cooking, teaching, feeding, celebrating, bridging two neighborhoods, one incorporated and one not; 3. create one or more “healthy cornerstores” in our center and in other areas of our service boundary; 4. Grow Staff Capacity to support current and future projects; 5. Create additional A Third Place Centers, either in building spaces of their own such as in the McLain Shopping Center, or in existing businesses and schools or spaces used by existing groups, and in non-building spaces such as our community gardens or in other public spaces…..

…..All so every neighborhod has a free community center within walking distance, and has volunteer trained neighborhood community health associates and designated resource responders within walking distance.

New Website under construction as project of OU graduate students and the Center; in meantime see and Contact or

Our Leadership: Executive Director, currently volunteer: Rev. Ron Robinson, Turley.
Board members: Dr. Lisa Byers, Owasso and originally from north Tulsa; Marcy Janitz, Turley,; Dr. Bonnie Ashing, Turley; Julie Sansone, Turley; Chris Sansone, Turley; Gwen Goff, north Tulsa; Linda Taylor, north Tulsa; Jim Webb, Turley.

Our Members and Governance: We are a voluntary association. Membership is open and needed by all, individuals and institutions, within or beyond our service area. Members elect the Board which operates the Foundation between Annual or Special Membership Meetings. Membership Forms are available at the Center or currently by calling 918-794-4637 or emailing

Our Thanks For Your Interest, Support, and Partnership As We Dream Another World Into Being
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