Monday, June 28, 2010

An Update On Current Dreams Becoming Reality

We have a new extended deadline of July 30 to try to raise the still needed $100 from 80 people, or $50 from 160 people, etc. goal to make the Miracle Among the Ruins happen. Become a part of this groundbreaking, literally, community renewal project here where both community and hope is much needed. Removing the abandoned properties, transforming a full city block overlooking downtown Tulsa, into a community garden and kitchen and green space, here where we have the lowest income lowest life expectancy will have ripple effects not only here but elsewhere. The Welcome Table Community Kitchen Garden project is worthy of your investment, and passing it on to others so they too can experience the miracle. Go to for all the links and to easily and safely Donate, Don't Wait.

Below is an additional update on all the news lately about this project, about our group, and about our upcoming activities.

Hi all from Minneapolis where I have been working this past week.

Our A Third Place Community Center has been much in the news lately. See below. Many good things happening, but our current major project is stalled and needs your help. But, first some inspiring news from here.

Had a fascinating talk, among all the other good things here, with a community renewal group Hope Community here that was very inspiring; of course they have been around for 30 years and for the first 20 years they said they were operating out of one place, doing good work, but then all at once things began to happen exponentially for them and they have been buying and renovating housing expecially for those without and building social services and community into the fabric of the housing in this lowest income area of Minneapolis. So I am reminded to take the long perspective, to see setbacks as new opportunities for connecting deeper, and to live in all the blessings of so much wonderful healing stuff that is going on in our small abandoned part of the Empire all with volunteers. I also presented a couple of workshops and discussions here in Minneapolis about our transformational work and the feedback was very positive and seeds were sown as others were talking about attempting similar projects in their areas and about forming a Missional and Progressive Network to help support one another.

Now back to the local front and our media stories.

If you haven't already seen our television news story that was done about us and our specific Welcome Table transformational project here, you can see the video on our blog at Watch and please pass it on to others. That blogpost also has links to all the other documents and videos about this project to reclaim one block of abandoned rundown property turning it into community space here in the zipcode with the lowest life expectancy lowest income and a shooting every day. I had a conversation with a woman at our Turley Free Festival we threw for the whole community back before I left; she at first was reluctant to support the project because of the very reason it is needed where it is needed; she said she would be scared to take her children there to use it. That is one of the many catch 22s from the folks here and about our neighborhood. But I told her it would be as safe as any place can be made safe, and that we have to start somewhere or else, as history has shown us, the unsafe places will continue to take over more and more area block by block. We can reverse it only block by block. This block, overlooking downtown Tulsa, and bridging two diverse equally endangered neighborhoods, is both a symbolic block to start with, and a practical one. We can get it for a relatively inexpensive price of $15,000 for the 12 city lots, an acre, and we have the volunteer support and other resources to get the project growing once we are able to buy it and get it going.

After the local tv news show aired, one evening and most of the rest of the next day, we still did not get a single contribution online in response to it. In fact the only contribution we got after it, and throughout the Turley Free Festival, was $40 that actually came from the very woman who had expressed those safety concerns about taking her family to the park; she came around, and I believe others can also.

We also had a good article in the Tulsa World on Sunday, June 20, about our community renewal efforts as a grassroots dedicated group of local missional minded folks who have formed a partnership between campus and community with various departments at the University of Oklahoma which have been so meaningful to our residents. You can read that article here

And we have launched our foodjustice program into a new realm with the start of our partnership with the Food Bank, augmenting our local donations and local home grown donations. We have had some 1300 pounds of food for our residents just in the past week and a half. Not to mention feeding the community with our community meals during the Free Festival, and with our Sunday common meals after worship.

Still after the Tulsa World article about us, we still received not a single contribution online. Since I have been away I am not sure, and am hopeful, about some contributions that might have come in by mail.

We applied for the Gardens For Good contest grant through and promoted it online but didn't get enough votes for our project to make it into the finals of the contest.

We do have a means now to handle stock donations toward us and our project, so if you would like to join with one who is doing that please contact me for details.

This coming month we will have partnership work with OU medical students today, and on Fridays July 9 and 16 and we will be partnering with OU social work students on projects in the community again this coming weekend on July 2 and 3; and also we are helping to do a big anti poverty education program at OBrien Park with OU on July 23. We are also meeting during the month to begin partnerships with the Y in racial justice work. And we are continuing to work during the summer toward ways to be a helping presence with McLain High School and the other schools in our area. The bookmobile will continue its return to our area thanks to our presence here....And we will soon be the only OU community health clinic north of Admiral due to cutbacks; our own contract with them has been reduced to one year, but we are ever hopeful that funding will be found so we can continue offering health care so needed here in our zipcodes of much need. The fact that we are here and providing space to allow the clinic to be here says a lot about our vision and our mission.

So the work goes on, and we still have about a week left, unless there are some changes that will extend our deadline, to simply (!) find 80 more people who will give $100 (or something equivalent to it; maybe your churches can take up a collection?) so we can buy that land and change the landscape. Thank you so much to those of you who have made a donation, and who have even gone without eating out once or twice or more during the month so they could send that money to us, or you who have passed my emails or blog links here or on facebook on to others with a note that you have given and you hope they will too. It makes all the difference. Donations are easy to make online at

I will give more updates upon my return back to Oklahoma. Keep us all in your prayers, as we keep you in ours, blessings, thanks, and more soon, Ron

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