In January 2007, with a core group of six to eight people and about a dozen in worship, we made our big missional transformative move; we had just lost our biggest financial contributor from our original group, but we felt called to serve our community and its severe needs of abandonment. We had talked among ourselves, particularly with the growing percentage of people who lived right around our space and came for the community and food I think and then the worship, and we talked with others outside of us about what they felt the community around us needed. More People who believed like us was not on the list. Neighborhood Pride, spirit, safety, healthy food, cleaner environment, sense of a community, better animal control, better schools, these were tops.
In summer 2010 through our nonprofit we bought the city block of abandoned homes and trash dump and transformed it into a community garden park and orchard, and called it The Welcome Table, named after the demonstration garden spot across the street we had put in as partners with the local United Methodist Church on their property loaned to us—where we have now a native wildflower plant preserve--and named after the hymn of that name which our children loved to sing when we worshipped, especially when we worshipped outside at our garden spots.
In our new space, the oldest church building in our area, we have been expanding our food pantry and have a community art space, and crafts space, and more room for our community events we throw like our free holiday parties that have grown in leaps and bounds. We are now leading the way in getting a new seniors group going in the area, and are trying to put together a coalition to buy and use for the community the Cherokee Elementary school that has been closed, another source of abandonment just as is our recently closed postal service, the closing of another of our civic groups, the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
By this time we had developed a series of ways to describe the vision we sought to live into, failing, but seeking.