Monday, March 26, 2012

Ember Darley Park

The Ember Cast helped facilitate a service and leadership experience last Saturday for some students at Salisbury Uni via Serve the City Baltimore's Spring service day. If you've been reading along, you know that we've worked with TayEst and her clan of college students for a few years and that they've been doing some pretty remarkable things at school. A few months ago, Taylor asked if Ember could put together a service and leadership experience where they could learn about sustainable community development, based on a desire to learn more about these kinds of principles like outlined in Toxic Charity. I asked my good friend Patrick Donohue if there was a possibility that this could work out for the Serve the City Spring service day and we got Saturday, which worked out perfectly.

Our team heard some teaching about the context of Darley Park, one of the most at risk communities in Baltimore, and go to work with Dorothy, one of the most senior residents of this community that decided that she was going to stay, even in the midst of the community being overtaken by bad people. Our big task, chosen by Dorothy, was to clean all the trash from two alleyways. In and of itself, the actual task would have been pretty good. Knowing that it was chosen by someone who is indigenous to the community [Dorothy] and hearing about the context of Darley Park made it a great project.

Here's some other items of note:
::: Our host, besides Dorothy, was one of the leaders of The Transformational Team, a partnership between the police department, local congregations and local nonprofits. Take special note at the Indicators for Transformation section. Perhaps this is how we should measure effectiveness of our churches.
::: Darley Park context
+ 1 church for 300 people in Baltimore. More pastors and deacons in the city than drug dealers but the mindset of the city is still owned by evil.
+ The level of darkness is greater than the level of prayer.
+ Push back the dark, then minister to needs.
+ Spiritual and cultural initiatives this summer in Darley Park:
art project
jazz on Friday nights
a prayer alter on a porch on every block
+ Is 62:4 The idea of married to the land.
::: There was a police car with us the whole day. I was told later this was by intention.
::: Two key concepts for next generation global leaders: systems and people of peace.
+ Systems - think systemic and systematic. Apply change to the system instead of just the circumstance.
+ People of peace - Dorothy was one of 6 elderly ladies that had a lot of influence in the community. Dorothy is a Christian so that one aspect of a person of peace doesn't quite fit her.
+ Neither of these concepts is taught enough to our high school or college kids.
::: Patrick Donohue, who runs Serve the City Baltimore and is planting Mercy and Grace for the City, is a phenomenal leader.
::: Grace Church used this service day as a launching point for their student teams as part of an overall preparation plan. Mission teams are stereotypically underprepared. This event helped teams grow together before they reach the field.
::: My 11 year old smelled pot for the first time. It didn't go unexplained.

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