Thursday, May 17, 2012

Inward/Outward Events and Life

First, here is a link to my brief park dedication words this past Saturday: The Miracle Among the Ruins reflection And here is a link to the news story on Channel 2 about us the park and the event:

Tonight at 5 pm at the Welcome Table community center, 5920 N. Owasso Ave: dinner and discussion on incorporation of Turley as a city.

Tonight at 7 pm. Harvesting at the Welcome Table KitchenGardenPark and Orchard, 6005 N. Johnstown Ave., getting food for our food pantry tomorrow.

Tomorrow, Friday, 9:30 am to noon, Food Pantry. Volunteers needed. At the Center. Each Tuesday and Friday during those hours.

Tomorrow from 2:30 to 4:30 pm I will be representing us on a panel about North Tulsa to health department employees who will be working in our community at the new Wellness Center.

Saturday, at 1:30 pm I will be participating in the Read Across North Tulsa event at Gilcrease Elementary School, 56th and N. Cincinnati.

Saturday, May 19, from 4 to 7 pm, join us for the kickoff of our new monthly partnership benefit dinner for each third Saturday, at the Turley Odd Fellows Lodge, 6227 N. Quincy Ave. this month proceeds go to Susan Komen for the Cure campaign against breast cancer; each month will benefit a community group. This month the Odd Fellows will be doing a spaghetti dinner, suggested minimum $5 for all you care to eat, and $2 for those ten and under. Every other month A Third Place Foundation will do the meal and use the benefits for our projects, but this is also a great opportunity to reflect our new community, to build bridges across ethnic and other lines, by eating together for and with others. Join us.

Saturday night at Pickles Pub we will be saying goodbye to our great volunteers and members and board members the Sansone Family as Chris plays his final concert with the R&B band Built For Comfort, at 42nd and S. Sheridan, as they take off for the Buffalo, NY area. Concert starts at 8:30 pm.

Next Thursday, May 24, at noon at the Center we will have a work session to begin building our network of people and resources by specific areas within our Turley area. Lunch included.

On Tuesday, May 29 there will be the Turley area Town Hall public meeting at O'Brien Park Recreation Center.

On Thursday, May 31, the neighborhood watch meeting at the Center at 6:30 pm.

On Saturday, June 2, we have our Board retreat from 9 am to 2 pm, then that evening we will have our annual presence and march in the Tulsa Pride Parade sponsored by the Oklahoma Equality Center; come join us.

On Thursday, June 7 at 10 am volunteers gather for our next Food Bank Mobile Van food giveaway, which starts for those with vouchers at 11 am. Come to the pantry to get vouchers for those in the 74126, 74130 and 74073 zip.

Saturday, June 9, I will be giving the keynote address and a workshop on our work here to the North Texas Areas Unitarian Universalists in the Dallas area at Horizon Church. The address is called "One Mission, Many Communities" and will be an introduction to the missional church movement. Our Sunday gatherings on good weather days have been at the park for study and communion and common meal beginning at 9:30 am. Check at the Center first to see if we are there or up at the park nearby, or call me at 9186913223. Eastertide is continuing. Last week for Mother's Day too we had a great bible study and conversation on radical women and mothers in Jesus' genealogy, and on the nature of the bible in our spiritual lives, and the hard passages where we need to speak back against what is in the Bible in order to uphold its deeper truths.

Thank you for your partnerships and for your help. We need your support for our work now more than ever. We have finished with phase one of the gardenkitchenpark, with just a few small projects left, and so we have used in mission all of our grant funding, and are now back on memberships, on fundraisers, and special donations. It has been an incredible year of outreach and expansion for us.

We have given more money away to schools in our area this year in response to all the cutbacks in public education, and we have and continue to lobby for keeping the interests of neighborhoods in mind, especially our most vulnerable neighborhoods, in decisions made about the schools. We want to expand even further by using Cherokee School which has been closed to the community for a year. We want to use it for a place of seniors and youth meals and community events. We want to continue expanding our support of McLain school, of the new Lighthouse Charter School where Horace Greeley has been which we have been partnering with this past year especially, and with the Gicrease School where the regular public school students in our area will now go.

We have expanded the gardenpark of course and with some more work there we will be ready to move on to raising funds to create a greenhouse/kitchen/shelter/storage/rainwatercollection building, and other natural projects for people to use to build relationships while growing food together.

We have expanded the food justice events and our pantry program is one of the best in the state; we help people connect to other resources; we provide a listening ear; we help them with food; we teach them how to take the food and make healthy meals from it; and we encourage them to give back to others even as they are receiving from others. Our mobile van food days every other month reach out to hundreds. We have added a part time staff person to help us with the pantry. Our clothing room that adjoins our pantry has been helped by our volunteers who are giving back for what they have received, and it is looking better and serving more than ever before.

We have held holiday parties and festivals for hundreds this past program year since last summer. And since the wildfires of last summer we have taken the lead in reorganizing a planning group to address the deep issues of our community needs, such as disaster relief and incorporation and attracting new residents and new businesses and working to help those already here. Because of that this summer we will begin work on creating and institutionalizing our Future of Turley work by creating a special development association to Grow Turley!

In many ways we seek to grow ourselves and our community by balancing our growth inward and outward. Many of the projects we undertake now are never known publicly; they are in partnerships and helping others in our community and their groups to grow with us, or helping one on one people and groups; much of our planning coming up will be how we can continue to build our own inner foundations through finances and people power and partnerships in order that we can sustain the phenomenol amount of outward mission we do in the community; much of our church work will be geared this coming year to providing resources for people to grow in their own spiritual formation in order that they may better serve others. It is such a blessing to have people moving into our community, or relocating their passions and extra time, to working with us and becoming a part of us on a regular basis; these leaders will be helping us to grow more this coming year, through this summer of incubation, both inward and outward.

Thank you for those of you who have helped with your individual donations, with getting your churches to take up a plate offering for our ministry here, or who are sending us opportunities for grants and new partnerships. In the midst of great scarcity and needs, we hold on to your acts of abundance with great love and gratitude, and though we don't say it enough, not nearly enough, all that happens here happens because of you. And if you have been reading these epistles from an abandoned place of Empire and felt the calling to send us some resources, or come for a visit, please get in touch with us, and pass on the opportunity to donate to us at We shock people sometimes in our workshops by talking about our radical sense of grace, how we intentionally go from zero to zero in our bank books month by month, trusting that more will be given so that we can give it away and show those around us that our world even in its poverty is a place of great plenty, of enough; we are in that situation again; we, however, don't like to stay at zero lol; we just like to end up there each month. Be a part of our adventure in faithfulness and mission. Help us keep surprising the world.

Finally, our sympathies to a wonderful friend and community leader, Notes Richardson who worked at O'Brien Park Recreation Center and who died suddenly at home this past Sunday; we had just visited with him at the dedication of the Linda Taylor basketball court a few days before, commemorating another of our community leaders who we have lost in this past year that has been marked by so many deaths of those working with us and in our community: Michael Niles, Joe Sanders, Steve Eberle, Gwen Goff, Linda Taylor, my own mother Mickey, and others in our community, and now Nolan Richardson III; their spirits continue to deepen our own and turn us to lifting the spirits of others. At this coming time of Memorial Day, we will have much to remember and re-dedicate ourselves too.

Thanks, blessings, and more soon,


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