After each Rock the Block event, our staff and volunteers meet together to discuss what went right, what went not so right and ideas for the future. But what does this mean for those outside our organization? Did we make the difference we were hoping to make? Here are a few words about the event from Jill, Discipleship and Stewardship Coaching Coordinator and Trainer for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and member of St. Paul’s, our host location:
I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things – Mother Teresa
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other – Mother Teresa
These two quotes sum up the feelings I have about our church being the host site for Rock the Block Doty Island West in July 2017. What an honor to be the place where volunteers gathered to enjoy a time of fellowship and food before going out to their work site for the day! People that volunteer have a special kind of energy – a wonderful essence of peace and love for the world and a commitment to sharing their gifts for the good of all. Being the place where so much of “that” was gathered in one spot each day …. WoW!!!!! I love it when our building is used as a hub of service for the community. I wish it was full of that kind of “work” every day of the week!!!
St. Paul has invested in building relationships in the neighborhood for several years. We have reached out by hosting a variety of activities inside and outside the church walls – each being met with minimal “success”. Rock the Block has given us a unique way to say to our neighbors, “We love you! We care about you and our common life together. Let’s join forces to literally build one another up!” You see – we weren’t swooping in as the “rescuers” showering our resources and expertise on “those in need”. We were all working together to repair, beautify, and build up our neighborhood. Our church building/facility was also a work site. The commitment to working side-by-side instead of “working for” someone brings a very different energy and posture to the atmosphere. We realize we are “all in this together”. We each have something to share – and we are less than what we could be if everyone doesn’t participate.
The week of work together concluded with a wonderful event called “Porch-a-Polooza”. It is where music groups of many different types commit to playing on peoples’ porches around a neighborhood. The community is then invited to come out and walk around and enjoy a “feast for the ears”.
We were blessed with a beautiful night Tuesday – and many people from the community were treated to jazz, classical, country, blues and every kind of music in between! The music was superb. The weather was perfect. At one point the wonderfulness of it all (the entire week) simply hit my heart HARD. People of all sorts were walking and laughing and singing and clapping together. Babies, dogs, bikes, wheelchairs and walkers. The amazing work done on the houses seemed to shine in the evening sun. The spirit of peace and harmony was palable. As my heart was taking this all in I turned to my friend and said, “I think this is what heaven is like. Everyone being invited to share their uniqueness – and the differences are celebrated. Look around – different styles of music, different structures and decoration of houses, different kinds of people and abilities. We serve a diverse and wonderful God!”
Thank you, Rock the Block, for affording us the opportunity to serve in this amazing experience! May God continue to call us to build a better community – TOGETHER!