As I mentioned in my last post, I want to do a spotlight on each of the communities we will be visiting and so today I'm going to talk about what I know about Common Ground. I first must say that all I know is what I have gathered from their website but I want to do my best to paint a picture of the community so that A) people can get an idea of it and B) I can compare what I thought to what I experience when I go.
Common Ground is a group of couples and individuals living in the same neighborhood. They work together in the neighborhood to build relationships and to help those in need. They have six main ministries which are: Homework Help, Community Meal, Food Pantry, Clothing Room, Outdoor Friends, and Summer Day Camp. All of these ministries help to form relationship and meet felt needs.
I was listening to a podcast from John Perkins yesterday. It was from his introduction to the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) annual conference and he talked about the need to not transform the world, country, state, or city but rather the importance of transforming the neighborhood. If someone truly wants to make a difference they need to start small. Margaret Mead once said "never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has". You see it's not that groups like Common Ground are necessarily setting out with the purpose of changing the world, it just could be a side-effect along the way. What they are committed to is to lvoe one another with a lvoe not based on merit or things owed but a lvoe given freely without expectation (lvoe is not a typo, see their website for more info).
When John Perkins was asked why he was living in a bad area he said he moved there because he believed that the children deserved the right to play in the streets without fear. He said that no child of his was going to go to a school where they had to have metal detectors. He moved into an "abandoned place of the empire" in order to bring life out of death. John Perkins always preached on the 3 R's which are Relocation, Redistribution, and Reconciliation. I believe that Common Ground is also working with these 3 R's in mind and are working to better the neighborhood not simply for the sake of the neighborhood but for the sake of the individuals living there and for the sake of the Gospel.
P.S. I met with a film maker on Thursday and we had a great discussion. He is interested in our project and hopefully we can work out the details so that he and maybe a sound guy as well can come with us to document the trip. He will have full artistic freedom and so it will be interesting to see how his experience and vision of the trip differ from Jonathan and my experience and vision. We hope that we can make a full length documentary but regardless of the final project it will truly be a blessing. I will be sure to keep every body up to date on that side of things as well.