Safe, dry, warm. These are three things that describe my house that I take for granted on a daily basis. In fact, for most of my life, these were not only the norm in my neighborhood, they were enforced in uniformity by some kind of code or HOA. Since moving to Englewood we’ve experienced an entirely different residential culture. People here have less income to apply toward maintaining their homes, over 60% of Englewood is rentals, the city has fewer resources and interest in forcing a certain standard of living, and frankly, the people here have other priorities besides making their house and yard look nice for everyone else. In a way, it’s the most honest place I’ve ever lived: the external appearance of a house matches the priorities and preferences of those who inhabit it. Rather than a mask that hides reality, the houses here often expose reality. This can be a thing of beauty but it can also be very hard on some of our neighbors who simply can’t keep up with their homes.
Winters in Colorado are relatively mild. Although I’d like to convince people that it’s miserable here throughout the winter in order to dissuade them from moving here in droves, it’s really not all bad around here. On the other hand, if you live in an unmaintained structure or no structure at all, winters are dreadful and perhaps even deadly. As much as I love winter, I know that many of my neighbors, homeless or housed, fear it because of the threat it poses to them.
This is why I love the Neighborhood Rehab Project. It’s not a magic cure, nor does it claim to be, but it does provide some much-needed relief for our elderly, disabled, and low-income neighbors. While it doesn’t solve homelessness, it is probably preventing it in some cases. NRP provides real and tangible relief for people who really need it.
Beyond the relief it provides, NRP gives our citizens the opportunity to see beyond political, preferential, and personal divides and to work together for the sake of someone else. Here’s something our favorite bar wrote about NRP that we completely resonate with:
“This is Englewood. It’s a community where neighbors join together to help other neighbors. It’s a community where we care about each other. We take care of each other. More than 200 people show up on a Saturday to volunteer for Be A Tool to help our elderly, disabled, and low-income neighbors with house and yard projects. Some of them have political yard signs we agree with. Some of them display political yard signs we disagree with. And guess what? We help each other regardless because we are all in this together in Englewood. We pull weeds, we remove old decks, fences, and trees, we paint houses. We plop down in the shade and eat sandwiches with people we’ve never met and listen to the children tell jokes. (Thank you, Neighborhood Rehab Project for making this beautiful event happen!) Then we go to the block party and dance together in the street. This is why we love our city and why we put our neighborhood bar here.”
As one of our parishioners Erica Krysl added this past Sunday, “This is also why we planted a church here.”
Although I’m not sure who to attribute this question to, it’s been posed to me several times: “If your church were to close up shop and move overnight, would the neighborhood even notice?” Just over two years into planting this church and I can confidently say yes, I believe people would notice. The people in our church have worked hard to develop a spirit of generosity and I’m very proud of them. Following the way of Jesus here in Englewood looks like this:
Thanks for all those who participated and/or donated to NRP. For those who want to serve for the first time or again, the Bishop Christmas Store is fast approaching!
We’d love to have you on board for that. Details to come!