As you know, over the past year we’ve been engaged in figuring out how we better serve and love our community. We created generosity teams at each location, took surveys, and hosted listening events for our leaders and local community leaders. Our teams worked hard to identify the needs in our community that are most prevalent and we are equipped to speak to. The needs that came up over and over again in conversations were: housing inequality, racial reconciliation and public education. As we prayed about how to love our city and meet these needs we decided there was no better place to start than by reaching out to local schools and see how we could support and partner with them.
I’m excited to announce, as we move into 2018, we will be partnering with The Blackstone Innovation School. Blackstone is an elementary school just a stones throw away from the Hilton in the south end. Blackstone is home to an extremely diverse (ethnically and economically) student body. Many of their students deal with the effects of housing inequality, racism, and food insecurity on a daily basis. The ongoing struggle in public education is funding. Budget cuts and restrictions have made it hard for Blackstone in recent years.
In 2018 we will have plenty of opportunities to partner with, learn from and bless the Blackstone school community. Whether it’s through helping with ESL classes, partnering with teachers, working with community leaders, collecting school supplies, or simply hosting service days at the school, we are excited to see where God leads us in the partnership.
Probably the most exciting part of this partnership is, after having multiple meetings with their community liaisons and their principal, they have offered to let us start meeting in their school on Sunday mornings! Starting in January 2018, REUNION BB will move to Blackstone and begin meeting in their auditorium and classrooms. This is a huge blessing to our community. The space is more flexible for our purposes, we will have storage ON-SITE, we can begin serving coffee, and there is free parking. The list could go on and on.
We have said for years that we want to be neighborhood driven, locally oriented, resources to our community. We want to be a church responsible for the spiritual, economic and physical health of the neighborhoods God calls us to – moving into and partnering with the blackstone school helps us do that.
Not only that – we talked last week about being good stewards. Stewards of creation. Putting our money into things that promote the health and well being of our city and world.
We said – hilton doesn’t always score super well in those areas and as a community we had to ask the question – do we want to continue pouring so much of our resources into a space that doesn’t line up with what we’ve said we value and put ahead of everything else? Even if it is a great space??
We have nothing but love for the Hilton and are appreciative of the “home” they have been for us over the last 10 years – but i can’t think of a better way to be good stewards of our resources than to partner with Blackstone and I’m excited to see where this new partnership leads us!