On Sunday, MAR 31 our church celebrated our 3rd Anniversary. Throughout this week we’ll be posting highlights from our third year together.
If you’ve been following along, you’ve now read a bit about the theological underpinnings of tilling, cultivating, and caring for the the physical land of a particular place. Jeremiah 29 provides profound direction to the people of God in that regard. You’ve also read a letter from our Mayor, Linda Olson, about the impact of a church who takes their theological convictions about caring for a place seriously. If you haven’t read those posts yet, click here.
In addition to caring for the literal ground beneath our feet, Jeremiah 29 encourages the reader to consider investing in some of the social constructs, systems, and institutions in the place she or he calls home. As you can see from our last post, our local government is a system and construct that we value highly and invest in heavily. But our investment doesn’t stop there. Local schools have been a big part of our work in Englewood from the beginning.
Englewood schools have struggled with some of the same things other public school systems in our state have: enrollment, testing, and aging infrastructure, among other things. Yet, the more we’ve poked around the more we’ve discovered a vibrant culture of generosity, diversity, kindness, and respect. Many of the people in our church have enrolled their kids in Englewood school and several of our parishioners work in the school system as well.
Although we love and try to support all the schools in Englewood, Bishop Elementary has a special place in our hearts. It was in the first week of exploring the neighborhood over three years ago that we got connected with Bishop and we’ve been investing there ever since. Being only three blocks from our building and having a high percentage of students with special needs and English Language Learners, there is plenty for our church to help with.
Every December our church joins another to create the Bishop Christmas Store where families can purchase gifts that are valued at $25 each for only $5 each. Hundreds of gifts are donated, hundreds of hours are contributed, and hundreds of volunteers participate to create a Christmas Store at two different schools. It is hands-down one of the most significant things we get to do every year.
Shanna Martin, Principle at Bishop, likes to brag that “The Sacred Grace supports all Englewood Schools, but Bishop is their favorite.” We can neither confirm nor deny this claim; but we can say that we love Bishop and we are 100% behind all the amazing work that’s happening in that school.
The welfare of the city is our welfare. Without progress, hope, vision, and development, our city and our church will flounder. Investing in these existing institutions is central to the vision of our church and, we believe, close to the heart of God.