Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Blessed are the peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
(Matthew 5:9)

Last night I made my way down to the Troy Police substation, which happens to be located in our neighborhood. It was time for the neighborhood association's monthly meeting. I was tipped off by our friend, Thila Bell, who is very involved with the association. She informed me that this would be a very important meeting, due to an outbreak of gun violence in this community. Over the past year there have been several shootings, two of which ended in fatalities.

The meeting started on time at 7:00pm and began in an orderly fashion, but it wasn't long before angry citizens began voicing their fears and concerns over a host of issues that have plagued this neighborhood for many years; violent crime, drug dealers, slum landlords, juvenile delinquency, citizens who could care less about the neighborhood, etc. I also noticed another neighborhood pastor, whom I had been attempting to connect with for quite some time, but was not able to until last night. After the meeting ended I approached Rev. Willie Bacote, introduced myself and made and offer to sit down with him, pray together, and see what we can do to be the peacemakers in the midst of this dark neighborhood. At some point in the week ahead we will meet, pray and start planning some community events and bring some much needed hope and peace to this neighborhood.

I had previousley met Rev. Miguel Estrada, a Hispanic church planter who lives in this same neighborhood. Miguel and his hispanic fellowship used our outdoor ministry park (formerly known as our "vacant lot") this past weekend for a community event and we talked about planning and co-hosting additional outreach events.

How will the community-at-large respond as the church unites for peace in the name of Jesus Christ? God is indeed at work in this neighborhood and we are blessed to have a part in what He is doing. To that end I would ask you to pray for God's hand upon this community and upon our efforts to make Him known in the lives of these people.