Our #neighborhoodsfordays odyssey is halfway complete (scroll down for the original announcement), but it feels like we’re just getting started. That’s because many of the stories I’ve shared over the past 15 days have been “flashbacks” from neighborhood faith communities I visited earlier this year, but on Monday, July 11 I’ll begin a stretch of first time visits to neighborhoods in Milwaukee and Chicago, and then on to parishes in Iowa, Nebraska, an Colorado. I can’t wait!
To join the journey in the days ahead, “Like” the brand new
, follow on RePlacing Church page on Facebook , and download the Instagram and follow “Ben Katt.” Anchor app
To get caught up, check out the photos, reflections, and links below.
#15 Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA | SPIRITUAL — Jessica & Clayton Connolly started the Spiritual Journey Center in the Ocean Beach neighborhood, a space where (1) they provide spiritual readings (aka, prophetic prayer) for neighbors and passersby, and (2) they “reintroduce Christian leaders back into the wild out of captivity” by convening regular gatherings for pastors in their parish from across denominational/theological streams. The ways their community is open to the Spirit in “OB” serves as an important reminder that neighborhood church expressions are spiritual care providers. #neighborhoodsfordays #flashback [LISTEN here] [ Instagram]
#14 City Heights, San Diego, CA | FLEXIBILITY — Flexibility has certainly been important for Chris Brewster as he has been coaching Track and Field at Hoover High in City Heights for almost a decade, but it has also marked his approach to being the church in the parish. After focusing much of his effort for years on getting kids to a worship service, he became flexible (of course, not without pain!) and began giving his time and energy to being and bringing good news to kids where they already are. Chris leads Orange Avenue Community Church, a small missional community planted out of Urbanlife and directs the City Heights Runners, a youth development initiative. #neighborhoodsfordays #flashback [LISTEN here ] [ Instagram ]
#13 Southeast, San Diego, CA | IMAGINATION — Amanda Jordan-Starks serves with Urbanlife in San Diego’s Southeast neighborhood, where she pastors a missional community, directs youth outreach programs, and engages in community development activities. Amanda and her community have transformed a vacant lot into a thriving urban farm, teaching job skills to youth and creating a beautiful space where youth host open mic nights and other creative events. She sends local students out into the neighborhood with the task of identifying vacant lots and imagining what those lots could one day become. #neighborhoodsfordays #flashback [LISTEN here ] [ Instagram ]
#12 North Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA | PERSEVERANCE — Taehoo Lee has experienced many setbacks lately. He was robbed at gunpoint and his summer camp group was discriminated against and banned from the local public swimming pool. But he continues to persevere out of love for his neighbors, especially the children for whom he has created a massive annual summer camp in the neighborhood, organized after school activities and tutoring, and is pursuing the dream of transforming the lot behind him in this photo into a youth community center. #neighborhoodsfordays #flashback [LISTEN here ] [ Instagram ]
#11 East Hunting Park, Philadelphia, PA | EMPOWER — “The issue for the 21st century is going to be leadership in a global society and we know that our existing institutions cannot handle it.” -Manny Ortiz, who, along with Sue Baker leads Spirit & Truth fellowship in the East Hunting Park parish. These two seasoned parish leaders have practiced what they preach and teach about leadership, planting and empowering more than seven parish church expressions in neighborhoods around Philadelphia. #neighborhoodsfordays #flashback [LISTEN here ] [ Instagram ]
#10 Kensington, Philadelphia, PA | PEACEMAKING — In April, ten years after I read, “The Irresistible Revolution,” I had the chance to visit Shane Claiborne and the Simple Way community in their high-density Kensington neighborhood. Things have changed over the years — among other things, Shane is now married to Katie Jo and the Simple Way is a “village” of neighbors rather than an intentional community living in a single home. But in the past decade, Shane and Katie Jo’s passion for peacemaking has only increased. Shane’s faith-fueled activism against global conflict, gun violence, and the death penalty stems from engaging extensions of these realities with his neighbors on his own street corners and row house front stoops, and continues to inspire followers of Jesus to ask, “What is one way I can pursue peace in my own neighborhood?” #neighborhoodsfordays #flashback #executinggrace [LISTEN here ] [ Instagram ]
#9 Golden Hill, San Diego, CA | FORMATION — Golden Hill, located east of downtown and south of the famous Balboa Park, is home to a community of Jesus followers that have taught me so much about listening, community, and peacemaking. But perhaps their greatest gift is their passionate commitment to the formation of the soul, gifts, and leadership of each person. We need more faith communities that honor the uniqueness and belovedness of each person like this! #neighborhoodsfordays #flashback #grateful [LISTEN here ] [ Instagram ]
#8 North Redlands, Redlands, CA | JOY — Highway 10, the largest man-made structure in the world (by weight and volume), separates this neighborhood from the rest of the city of Redlands. On the north side of “the dime,” Nick In’t Hout has been seeking to join God’s activity — and it all began with bringing a wiffle ball and bat to Lugonia Elementary School. These days, students of all grade levels rush outside for recess to join their respective teams for a game of wiffle ball, but what they get from Nick and a whole host of volunteers are love and mentorship, lessons in teamwork and encouragement, and, ultimately, participation in a culture of joy. Community members are now supporting Lugonia beyond the wiffle ball diamond, in the classroom, lunchroom, and library. Nick and his family are currently in a season of discernment about how the Spirit might be developing all of this community and joy into a neighborhood expression of church. How might your joy guide what you create in your neighborhood? #neighborhoodsfordays #flashback [LISTEN here ] [ Instagram ]
#7 Egg Harbor, Door County, WI | REST — The population in some neighborhoods/towns — places like Egg Harbor — swells in the summer when tourists come to play and rest. This reality in this place has me wondering about what rest looks like in our own neighborhoods. How do our community rhythms and gatherings facilitate rest? What spaces in our parish — parks, cafes, pubs, and other common spaces — give us, our neighbors, and visitors rest? #neighborhoodsfordays [LISTEN here ] [ Instagram ]
#6 East Side, Milwaukee, WI | GOOD — 7 years ago my brother, Dan, and sister-in-law, Christina, made a commitment with their friends, David and Allison, to put down roots on Milwaukee’s East Side. Together with a few others they formed the core of what became City Reformed Church in their neighborhood. Soon after, Dan and David began to dream about opening a brewery that would not only be a nod to Milwaukee’s rich brewing past but also help create a craft beer future in the city. They joined up with a talented local brewer and, a few weekends ago, these three founders opened Good City Brewing on the East Side where they encourage everyone to “Seek the Good” of their place, while creating a vibrant hub for community and serving up tremendous beer and delicious food. #seekthegood #neighborhoodsfordays [LISTEN here ] [ Instagram ]
#5 Windom, MN | HOSPITALITY — A town of 4500 people where our hosts Gene and Karen have lived their entire lives. The windmills in the distance are new and have altered the view they’ve had across Fish Lake for over 40 years, but their warm hospitality, in which they are treating our band of road weary travelers like family, has an almost eternal feel to it. Perhaps the deeper our roots are in our parishes, the wider our hospitality becomes. #grateful #neighborhoodsfordays [LISTEN here ] [ Instagram ]
#4 Duvall, WA | INTENTIONAL — We made a quick stop in rural Vivian, South Dakota to say hi to our friend Rachel as we criss-crossed on I-90, so her rural parish (not as rural as Vivian!) moves to the top of the #neighborhoodsfordays #flashback list! I visited Duvall in May and was struck by all of the intentional choices Rachel is making as she cultivates community in the way of Jesus. Our willingness to be intentional about where we get our groceries or gas, the restaurants and cafes we frequent, the parks and gyms we play at directly impacts our capacity to become known, trusted characters in the neighborhood. [LISTEN here ] [ Instagram ] (Check out Episode 20 of the RePLACING CHURCH Podcast for my interview with Rachel)
#3 South Billings, Billings, MT | RESTORATION — In the South Billings parish, a community of Jesus followers are living intentionally as “Repairers of Broken Walls, Restorers of Streets with Dwellings” (Isaiah 58.12), carrying out their work through Community Leadership & Development, Inc., led by Eric Basye. Their commitment to restoration in the name of Jesus is stunning: transforming vacant lots/houses to homes, unhoused individuals to housed, renters to owners, dangerous streets to safe streets, neglected youth to empowered youth, and ex-cons to community leaders. [LISTEN here ] [ Instagram ]
#2 Butte, MT | PROSPERITY — The exploitation of environment, workers, and women that resulted from Butte’s “prosperous” copper mining boomtown era begs questions about prosperity: How do we seek the prosperity of our parish? If we are seeking our own prosperity, who/what are we exploiting? [LISTEN here ] [ Instagram ]
#1 Aurora Avenue, Seattle, WA | NAME — Starting the #neighborhoodsfordays odyssey a day early! The first neighborhood is my own, Aurora/Greenwood where “Aurora Means Dawn.” What is the name of your neighborhood? What does it mean? #AuroraMeansDawn [LISTEN here ] [ Instagram ] Original Announcement
This is Ben Katt of the
RePlacing Church Podcast where we explore spirituality, community, and social change to help people imagine, create, and lead neighborhood expressions of church.
I want to announce something I’m doing this summer called
#neighborhoodsfordays! (You can listen here )
On Sunday June 26, my family and I will begin a cross-country odyssey all the way from Seattle, WA to Milwaukee, WI in our 2004 baby blue Honda Odyssey (she’s something special).
We’re going to visit family and friends.
We’re going to relax.
We’re going to visit my brother’s brand new brewery in Milwaukee —
Good City Brewing (Can’t wait!).
But we’re also going to visit a bunch of neighborhoods and
neighborhood church expressions on the way there and on the way back.
I want to invite you along for the ride, at least the parts of it that don’t involve my kids screaming, “Are we there yet?” from the back of the minivan!
Here’s the deal about #neighborhoodsfordays:
For 30 days I’m going to be sharing stories and observations from 30 different neighborhoods. Most reflections will be on neighborhoods I’m visiting or passing through on this trip, and some will be about other neighborhoods I’ve had the privilege of visiting earlier in 2016.
Here’s how you can follow along and learn along with me:
* Second, each day for 30 days, I’ll be posting a photo on the new
RePlacing Church Instagram account, so make sure to follow! * Third, I’m going to have some fun using the Anchor App, aka “Radio by the People.” If you haven’t checked out Anchor, it let’s you record mini 2-minute podcasts and let’s people respond and converse. So you can join the conversation by downloading the
Anchor appand following “Ben Katt.” I literally have 2 followers right now, so this is fun new territory for me and I think it will be for you too!
So, there you have it, to stay in touch with the
#neighborhoodsfordaysexperience, Like “RePlacing Church” on Facebook, Follow “RePLacing Church” on Instagram, and Follow “Ben Katt” on Anchor.