A Community Building Building Community

Every weekday sometime around 11:30 am I find my way over to Lakeview Presbyterian Church’s third space where I enjoy a better than home cooked meal prepared by First Slice and spend an hour or so in fellowship with friends. Up until April 22nd we had been temporarily meeting in the sanctuary, waiting for the completion and opening of third space which is the name for the old Parish House just west of the Church on the corner of Broadway and Addison in Chicago.

Pastor Joy Douglas Strome shares in the above video their community’s dreams for third space and explains how they arrived at the name as well as the secret, or maybe not so secret to community builders, to creating community in a 21st century modern city. If you are interested in building a community today, I believe this video will provide a good blueprint.

The house built in 1911 provided educational programs to a rapidly growing Lakeview Community. In 1870 2,000 residents, mainly celery farmers populated the area. By 1887 the population reached 45,000 residents, leading to the eventual incorporation into Chicago in 1889. (Wikipedia)

Over the years the space was used for teaching English to immigrant populations, providing sanctuary for Central American refugees, providing alternative education for at-risk youth, serving a hot lunch to neighborhood senior citizens are strong evidence of a church history that proclaims the gospel in actualized missions that serve both neighborhood and city.” (Church Website)

Thanks Pastor Joy and Lakeview Presbyterian Church Community for your continuing to make community thrive in a time when many of us believe real, honest-to-goodness community is something of the past. You’re proving us wrong.

Posted by Dan O’Donnell, a layman who has covenanted with the Chicago Community of Passionist Partners. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journe

The Power of Asparagus

My mother assigned daily chores to each of us. I remember periodically having to pick some wild asparagus that grew in our rock garden and bring it in for dinner that night. I never dreamed that this simple act was unusual or that it would ever become a means of fighting climate change or of building community.

Tim Rinne in a 2014 TEDx talk Growing food, growing community — the example of the Hawley Hamlet, shares a charming story of how the fear of missing a meal at some future date, led him to revolutionize what his neighborhood looked like and how he grew from knowing just three of his neighbors to now knowing all of them. As a result of their combined work, they lessened their carbon footprints and learned to grow food, much like that asparagus I picked when I was five years old in 1950.

I’m meeting with an activist group leader tomorrow to talk about what we might do to fight the bad effects of gentrification in our Chicago north side neighborhood. Maybe we will plan a demonstration in front of the alderman’s office, or maybe we will organize individuals asking them to stand on corners requesting people to sign petitions. Both ideas I suspect have been successful in the past, but I’m hoping that we will come up with something more revolutionary like the Hawley Hamlet. Thanks Tim for the idea.

Dan O’Donnell, a layman has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey