We live in an increasingly diverse community. Gethsemane has the opportunity and responsibility to discern the most effective ways to be a church in this changing environment. These facts were the motivation for this summer’s Congregation Read and our hosting of two community events. It was wonderful to see so many get involved in a variety of ways.
Over 70 families purchased the book, close to 95 people attended the July Outcasts United and 55 people the August Neighbors United events. Plus many more likely read information about the events or issues in the Gethsemane News, local newspapers and various websites. It’s hoped that the learning, dialogue and community connections have only just begun.
By the way, did you know:
Research has found that inhabitants of very diverse communities tend to withdraw from collective life, volunteer less, distrust neighbors regardless of skin color, and huddle unhappily in front of the TV. (Unless, of course, a community takes strategic actions to prevent this from occurring.)
After hearing presentations about what’s currently happening in relations to our area’s growing immigrant and refugee populations, those attending Neighbors United brainstormed answers to the following question: What are some actions, big and small, that each of us might engage in to help build a healthy, united community? Here are just a few of the responses for your consideration:
- Smile and say hello, especially to those who look different from you
- Attend community ethnic festivals
- Go to the new ethnic restaurants and cultural markets in our area
- Introduce a new neighbor to your neighborhood
- Open a conversation with an immigrant or refugee. Try to find out what you have in common.
- Consider volunteering at Adult Options, Alice Smith or Eisenhower Elementary
- Support ResourceWest, ICA, and Lutheran Social Service