The Journey at AACRC
October 25, 2011 Leave a Comment
Kimi Zimmerman – Community enCompass
For me, this is a story of hope…hope that the church can become what/who God intended it to be from the start. A place of learning, a place of growing, a place of acceptance, respect and love, and most importantly a place where anyone can belong because it is a community of people who care about each other. I am excited that this church that has been in existence for over a hundred is willing to say, “we need to change if we want to make a difference.” It gives me hope to work with a church that is willing to ask questions rather than give answers.
Allen Avenue CRC was ready for a change and wanted to become involved in our community in a different way than we had been in the past. However, we were unsure what that change was going to look like before being introduced to Asset Based Community Development earlier this year. After a few months, we have started to see a shift in the way that we think about and relate to our neighbors and the neighborhood. In the past, the statistics of this area have resulted in a skewed perception of the Angell neighborhood. Our opinions had been clouded by the things we were reading and hearing about concerning the crime rates, drug trafficking, violence, high rates of unemployment, and so forth.We had lost touch of the good things that were going on in our neighborhood and the strengths and assets already existing within it. Even more, we stopped knowing who are neighbors really were.
The church at large, AACRC included, has a long history of providing relief efforts to people in need. However, we are now striving, with the encouragement and guidance of CenC and Kimi Zimmerman, to come together with our neighbors to shift from these relief efforts to ones of development with hopes of bring about lasting transformation in our neighborhood. We are working to shift our focus from trying to solve problems we assume exist within our neighborhood to letting the neighborhood define the strengths and needs itself.
Furthermore, we are beginning to have our eyes opened again to the good people and assets that are already in the neighborhood. Rather than seeing our neighbors as people who are struggling and in need of our help, we are seeing them as individuals who have gifts, talents, strengths and the knowledge to make their neighborhood what they what it to be. Sustainable transformation does not come from the church doing things for a community. Instead, it comes out of the body of Christ joining together with its neighbors in relationships where everyone has the opportunity to bring their gifts and contribute to the transformation. As we continue moving forward with ABCD, we are grateful for our partnership with CenC and look forward to what God has in store for us and our neighborhood.