April 28, 2016
This Sunday after the 10:00 service, we’ll gather feedback about the Innovative Engagement Series, compare experiences from Hands on Lent, and discuss next steps. Since Easter, we’ve heard from three dynamic leaders whose work envisions Baltimore as God’s blessed community.
Rob English, lead organizer, described BUILD as a multiracial community power organization. Over 50 congregations and neighborhood associations work together through BUILD to define practical solutions for community problems, addressing education, public safety, employment/job training, affordable housing, and programs for youth. BUILD trains its members and helps them discover their voices. “The secret to BUILD’s success lies in its commitment to identify and develop leaders in every community where BUILD works. We rely on a radical tactic: We meet people face-to-face and build relationships that help to re-knit the frayed social fabric of our life. We don’t seek justice and social change for people, we seek change with people. We tackle big problems by breaking them down into issues that can be addressed. We build power by building community.”
Sarah Hemminger, co-founder and CEO of THREAD has done the research to prove her organization’s founding vision: The difference between a young person succeeding or failing is the presence of a consistent, committed adult in that person’s life in the years stretching from high school through college/vocational training. THREAD weaves this fabric of support by creating a 4-5 member “family” around over 250 Baltimore students, and these families do whatever it takes for them to thrive, from wake-up calls and packing lunches to connecting the young people to community resources. “Family” members might include college students, retirees, working professionals, and stay-at-home parents, and THREAD is equally committed to the well-being and growth of both its volunteers and its mentees. Everyone benefits from the relationships created.
Panagis Galiatsotos, co-director of Medicine for the Greater Good, promotes community based health and wellness through Caregiver Cafes, lay health education, and positive psychology programs at local schools. Surveys conducted by his organization reported striking feedback: the number one issue affecting health for adult respondents was employment, and for elementary-aged children it was hope. Medicine for the Greater Good trains individuals in congregations to be health advocates, and in partnership with Peabody Conservatory, engenders wholeness through music.
Through Hands on Lent, we redoubled our efforts with Paul’s Place and Habitat for Humanity, and BUILD helped us deepen our relationship with the Govans neighborhood and School, where each week Redeemer parishioners are tutors.
Thank you for your interest and your time and your commitment. The Spirit is moving through our hearts and hands.
Now feels like a good time to reflect on our experiences together and chart a course for the future. How can Redeemer best engage Baltimore in a meaningful and sustained way? What partnerships provide opportunities for us to be transformed, along with our city? Where is God calling us?