Yesterday Andy Lunt (Director of Congregational Development), Paul Nixon (Path One Consultant) and I drove through the City of Baltimore. We were loaded down with maps, demographic reports and news clips about about the various communities, that comprise the Charm City. Our goal was simple, to identify places where a UMC community of faith was missing.
We drove through Franklin Square, Lafayette Square, Bolton Hill, Fells Point, Canton. Paterson Park, John Hopkins Hospital and then straight out Belair Road to Overlea and back across the city to Catonsville, through PIkesville and Mt. Washington. As we drove through and talked to people, observed the community differences and the obvious challenges I was most disturbed and shaken by the extreme poverty that exists in several neighborhoods where there is no UMC. I know that the rule of thumb in starting a new church is go to where there is community growth. I get that but we need a new strategy for our urban communities and for city centers.
I am praying that God will send ministry servants who care and will participate in a ministry to directly address the plight of the poor, the working poor and those living in communities where the social problems including food insecurity, access to healthcare, drugs being sold on the streets and addictions of every kind outweigh and overshadow the hope that there is a better life and the realization of God’s love in their lives.
My prayer is that we develop a team to change one neighborhood in a major way to reflect the Reign of God’s kingdom here on earth. If you will join me in this prayer, please leave a comment.