Two years ago, about 70 gathered on
Sundays for worship in this mainly working-class,
Now we’re averaging 120 each week,
and we’re a diverse mix of Sudanese- and
Congolese-Americans alongside those from
the neighborhood who have lived in this
country longer. We speak English, Arabic,
and Swahili, and our 30 or so children and
youth often remind us that worship is for
dancing as much as for praying!
Our mission – to create spaces for God’s
grace to form life-changing relationships
with Christ and each other across lines of
privilege and prejudice – led us to the
ambitious goal of an all-parish retreat at
Camp Stevens over Labor Day weekend.
Our 78 participants, including almost fifty
kids, joined in profound cross-cultural
storytelling . . . and a lot of pool and
hillside fun! We’ve also begun open, weekly discipleship
group gatherings in homes. An Ignatian,
eucharistic, and recovery group structure
guides our discernment and prayer.
Our commercial kitchen is under construction! Once complete, its refugee women’s
job training program will tie together the
International Rescue Committee’s high
school urban farming project and the outdoor
cafe area next door to create a visible,
delicious, and blessed community space in
this hip-but-not-really-religious neighborhood.
Our newly built playground, thanks to our
partner Genesis Church, offers nearby families
a place to play on the afternoons and
weekends. Weekday mornings and early
afternoons our partner Uptown Community
Services serves North Park’s homeless.
We are called to serve newly arrived Americans,
working class folks, and millennials unsure of
where the church fits into their lives. In other
words, our financial sustainability rests in large
part on the generosity of the many churches,
foundations, the wider Episcopal Church, and
our diocese that have committed to supporting
God’s work in North Park.
We thank you for joining us in this adventure
– for taking a risk as we learn what works and
what doesn’t for the church in 2018 and beyond.
We are grateful for your continuing support!
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