Our neighbors include people who live in the neighborhood, institutions that run non–profits or businesses, and those individuals who move in and out – who bus, work or are homeless. We have been able to meet with many individuals and groups of neighbors who responded to our questions about how we can be better neighbors and strengthen our neighborhood together. We’ve also had dozens of more casual, on- the-street conversations. Generally, they seem to trust our good intentions. We on the Campus Task Force are eager to help Plymouth move beyond intentions. We’re talking about transformational change.
Plymouth’s long, rich tradition of helping our neighbors and neighborhood by providing direct services to people with various needs has begun to morph toward changing the conditions that underly their challenges. Compassion has and will always matter. But as we prepare to make recommendations to the Deacons in December, we believe it’s time to strengthen and transform our commitment to racial and economic equity. We believe we should create a new model for concrete changes that will enhance the well-being of our neighbors and the neighborhood we share.
Fortunately, and not unsurprisingly, a growing number of more than 125 church and staff members inspired these themes above and added specific ways we might honor this path toward justice. But what do our neighbors say? In the most general of terms, they include the following:
- Might Plymouth create a community center, a hub that offers a continuum of services that help neighbors build more independent lives? Job-related, medical screening, and support services for teens are just examples.
- Could neighbors participate in programs Plymouth is already offering its members? Music and theatre programs, gallery exhibits, Helping Hand program on Wednesday nights are among those cited.
- Might neighbors use various spaces – theatre, sanctuary, library gallery for their own performances and exhibits, chapel for memorial services for people who don’t have or can’t afford their own spaces, safe inside spaces to relax with others?
- Might we host or co-host occasional social block parties, musical events at or outside Plymouth?
- Will our members become actively involved in our neighborhood and participate in their organizational events?
- Will Plymouth and its member advocate for public policies or recommendations that improve the neighborhood?
- Above all, will we partner with them in deciding what programs, services and assets might made at Plymouth and in the surrounding neighborhood?
Stay tuned as we come back with more thoughts in two weeks. Do you have ideas you want us to consider as we develop our recommendations to the Deacons? Please contact Sonia Cairns, firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you, members and staff, for your energy, creative ideas, and commitment to making the real and bold change on behalf of our neighbors and the neighborhood we share.