Friday, March 09, 2012

An Epistle From Turley

Hi all. We are starting our Week of Serving, Mar. 12-16, see below if you want to skip to it, aided in our community projects with a group coming back to Turley and North Tulsa from Wildflower Church in Austin, Texas; come join with us and them and others in our community for many renewal transformations in our area. We will be hosting them in our community center Sunday night to Sat. morning. If you can help with food for potlucks or can make a donation for the week's work, let me know or contribute online at Thanks.

Before we get to the exciting week ahead of us here in the 74126 next week during our Week of Serving (see the schedule for the week at, let me begin with the amazing things we have been participating in during the past month. But be on the lookout for an article on our week ahead that may be published in the Saturday Tulsa World Religion Section. Next week we will feature a Tour, free meals, hands-on projects at the Center, partnering with a librarian, with crafts and sewing people, with carpenters and others, hands-on projects at the GardenPark to transform it and finish our work for which we received last summer a home loan bank grant, classic country music concert and classic Rock concert, parties, movie of The Way and discussion of it by one who recently walked the Camino de Santiago, projects in the community with our partners, and more in the week ahead. Come join us. See that link above for details. Share and come celebrate next week with us.

On Saturday, Feb. 18 we were part of a Board Retreat for McLain School Foundation and on Sunday, Feb. 19, we had the privilege to be one of the featured food justice groups at the Interfaith Trialogue Series Food For Thought sponsored by the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice; we introduced our work here in the 74126, our great needs, and the many opportunities people have for connecting with us especially in our community gardenpark and blight to beauty projects. We have been working clearing our park site and planting for the season ahead already. We are beginning to work with the local women's correctional facility on a gardening project too.

On Tuesday, Feb. 21, we showed the documentary and had a deep discussion of Dr. Cornel West and others in "Stubborn as a Mule" on the need for reparations and the history of injustices toward African Americans past and present, and about our calling for joining in the struggle in the ways small and large that the work still presents itself for us everyday here. On Wednesday, Feb. 22 we joined with Turley United Methodist Church for Ash Wednesday Service.

On Feb. 29, we were honored to travel to Houston to receive an Award from the Southwest Regional Network of the National Recreation and Parks Association for our work in creating our community garden park and supporting public parks in our area; this was after receiving the statewide parks award; we may be nominated for the award on the national level, so stay tuned. What I say in talking about our work particularly in food justice is that it illustrates the point Jim Wallis of Sojourners in D.C. and others make about the necessity of combining individual and private and non-profit and governmental funding and cooperation to attack the roots of poverty and hunger. Our park site is a prime example of how that is taking root here. And we hope to see it bear fruit not only at the park but also through our work at the community center and out in the community with partners. You can see the award citation information about us at this link: Plan now to join with us for our Park Dedication and Celebration Saturday, May 12, from 10 am to 2 pm, with ceremonies beginning at 11 am. and a party the whole time, especially for all of you who have helped in those hot summer days last year. It is great to see the beautiful blossoms on the trees of the orchard.
We also last month had the first of our two part volunteer training workshop; stay tuned for the scheduling of the next session this month; you don't have to take the sessions in order, but you do have to take both.

Recently we have begun work with local leaders in senior nutrition and senior living on revitalizing a foundation and the hopes of creating more free senior nutrition sites in our area; the only one is some five miles away and it has already reached its maximum capacity and can't take any more seniors. And we are trying to find a way, now that Cherokee School has been closed, to still provide the summer feeding program for all under 18 years old that we have been doing all summer long for the past three years, feeding more than at any other site in Tulsa; stay tuned as we hope we can actually work out a temporary lease to continue to use the closed school facility for all of our healthy food justice projects and more community renewal work. And our Food Pantry continues to serve more and more families; at the end of April we will again host the Mobile Food Van as we did in January when we gave out 11,000 pounds of food to those in our zips.

We are looking for a commercial refrigerator to help us be able to offer a site for feeding the children and youth; and we are looking for donations for a new hot water heater, and plumbing assistance to install showers at the community center, and creating our own kitchen space at the Center.

We have been having meaningful weekly Thursday Lenten Vespers services at 6 pm incorporating reflections from Father John Dear's book The Questions of Jesus, and plan to see him when he speaks in Tulsa Wed. Mar. 28 at 7 pm at Fellowship Congregational Church. We traveled to Stillwater on Sunday, Mar. 4 to preach on how transforming the world requires us to transform our approach to faith itself; to adopt a new theology of the cross for progressives; the sermon "Bless This Mess" available at I am going to be travelling to Washington, D.C. later this month to coordinate the progressive Christian Revival, see and then will be in Midland, Texas Mar. 25 to preach the installation sermon "The Possible Church" for the Rev. Thomas Schmidt. Looking ahead, On May 5 I will be preaching the theme sermon in the Boston area for the Ballou-Channing District at Fairhaven, Mass. Title is "ReShaping The World: church in the likeness to a different God" and the subject is how the hurting world needs both missional church and progressive church to combine and be transformed by one another in order to be the kind of leaven in the world that the radically subversive God requires. We invite all to join with us in our small missional community worship services on Sundays between 9:30 am and 1 pm including common meal, and also check out our daily morning and evening prayer communities online at the Facebook site above.

We continue to host and coordinate the Future of Turley meetings, and held one recently where we advanced our plans to work on disaster response networking, incorporation, post office, school support for the new public charter school The LightHouse Academy going in where the Greeley School is now (we have been helping the new school spread the word and attract applicants and we will become a main community partner for their program which will eventually offer K-12 school nearby, even as we deepen our commitment to help the other public schools such as McLain). We have also been studying the new census and demographic and ethnographic material about our area which in the past decade has lost another almost 15 percent of its population (and that is just in the unincorporated side of our service area), the second highest percentage drop in the communities in the Tulsa area; while health data keeps getting worse for those who move here or remain.

Looking ahead to next month: We will be a part of an April 17 presentation and discussion on issues of homelessness and immigration sponsored by Phillips Theological Seminary and featuring the Rev. Lorenza Andrade Smith. More will be coming soon on this event.

In acts of one to one service, in working on larger justice issues, in connecting people who want to make a difference in this abandoned place of the American Marketplace Empire, in sowing seeds of hope, we live out our mission to grow healthy lives and neighborhoods by empowering residents, and in all we do to seek to make visible in the world the loving and liberating and radical hospitable to all presence of Jesus.

blessings, Ron
ps if you don't want to go to the link on next week's highlights, here they are:

Join In Our Week of Serving Turley & Area
Mon. Mar 12 – Fri. Mar. 16
10 am to 2 pm: Tour of Area and Discussion of Issues and Projects. Free Lunch included. Meet at the Welcome Table Community Center, 5920 N. Owasso Ave.
2-5 PM Service Projects at the Center and new Community KitchenGardenPark and Orchard, 6005 N. Johnstown Ave., and in the community
5:30 pm at the Center Free Dinner Movie and Discussion of “The Way” with presentation by the Rev. Jonalu Johnstone of First Unitarian Church in Oklahoma City who recently took the pilgrimmage.
9 am to 6 pm Various Community Projects for all ages; 3 to 6 pm Food Pantry; gather at 2:30 for a quick prayer and blessing service for the work of the food pantry and the lives touched through it.
9 am to 6 pm Community Projects; 11:30 am free lunch for helpers at Turley United Methodist Church, 6050 N. Johnstown Ave., 6 pm Classic Country Concert with Johnny and The Oklahomans, and 6:30 pm free dinner for helpers at the Welcome Table Center.
9 am to 6 pm Various Community Projects for all ages; Food Pantry 3 to 6 pm; gather at 2:30 pm for a quick prayer and blessing service for the work of the food pantry and the lives touched through it.
Lenten Prayer Service 6 to 6:30 pm, Welcome Table Missional Community
9 am to 6 pm Various Community Projects
3 to 7 pm Turley area Litter Pickup Event and Jupiter Jump and Party at The Welcome Table Community Center
7 to 9 pm Live Rock Music, featuring the band “Built For Comfort”
For more information, or to sign up to help, contact Ron Robinson, Executive Director, A Third Place Community Foundation at 918-691-3223, or see

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