Central is located in the geographic center of six distinct neighborhoods:
We are invited to consider and discern how our context points to God’s dream for us. How might this particular location and these specific groups of neighbors be part of God’s plan for our ministry together? What would the LORD have us do here and now?
One way of approaching these questions is to wonder what needs are shared among most or all of the residents in these communities? How are they more alike than different? This question itself points to one of the foundational answers.
The reality is that we do have much in common, though demographically we appear very different – race, language, economics, education, country of origin, sexual orientation, generation. Yet we all share basic human needs for meaning and purpose, belonging and love. Particularly in the divisiveness and conflict of our current social and climate we need places where we can come together and learn from one another. We need a safe place to tell our story and to hear the stories of others - to know and be known.
Above all Churches ought to be places of welcome, healing and hope. Our context implores us to engage with our neighbors and draw them together in meaningful ways where we can all recognize, affirm and celebrate our common humanity.
The social and economic pressures of our time are best alleviated by solutions that arise from our common knowledge and shared experience. We see in the letters of Paul and the book of Acts these same conflicts arising from fear born of difference. In Christ we learn that our common humanity surpasses the value and power of any distinctions. The human race is made one in Him. We are reconciled to God and to one another, and given the ministry of reconciliation.
How will we claim and live into our reconciled nature? How will we learn and practice the ministry of reconciliation so that it spreads throughout our community and world?
One glance at the above map should make clear the amazing opportunity we have to be a hub of community connections. We can host gatherings, events and programs on our campus that meet real concrete needs of our neighbors and bring them into relationship with one another. We can partner with other individuals and groups as allies and catalysts for similar encounters in other settings.
As we make direct relational connections to our neighbors, we have the opportunity to hear their hopes and fears, their dreams and their struggles. Then together with them and the Holy Spirit we can become the answer to our own prayer that God’s kingdom would come and God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.