But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, "Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you." (Ephesians 5:13,14 )
The verse above is what God gave me as my husband and I began to dream about what it would look like to host a block party in our community. A block party that would encourage community unity, family love and an opportunity for the local church to display Christ love and presence in midst of violence and fear.
I remember growing up and being excited about those hot summer days when the neighborhood leaders would block off the streets and call out police protection and have the biggest community parties. Kids playing in water from busted fire hydrants, boys playing basketball, double dutch contest , food and loud rap music. Back then I didn't know the effects this could have on our neighborhood. When neighbors have a platform to do life with each other, meet each other and share in a mutual love for their community something happens.
Little Corey's protection isn't just his mom or grandma concerns, but it also becomes Ms Jenkins who lives down the street concerns too. I remember not being able to leave my front porch as a little girl in the Englewood community without the elderly man next door telling me to " get back on that porch!" because he was concerned about my safety as well. They say it takes a village to raise a child and that is exactly how I saw my hood as I was growing up- having a genuine concern for all that was living in it.
Last year, myself along with many others, planned, prayed and worked hard to host our first ever Washington Park block party. City Alive was birthed out of prayer and desire to no longer see the "streets" of Washington Park dead or blind but ALIVE through the power and work of God as the body of Christ and those in the community serve, and love on one another and be a representation of Gods kingdom in our city. To help us, we started a street team which consisted of the high school kids in our program. Who better to ask on how to reach the streets then the very kids in our community. They helped with planning, passed out flyers, invited and evangelized local housing projects and attended the event prayer walk. They were amazing!
In addition, we were honored to have Christian Hip Hop artist: Travis Tyler (Thisl) and J'son Watkins (J'son) both of these brothers came with wisdom and experience as they themselves are products of an inner city environment. God used these brothers to bless our hood tremendously.
Planning for City Alive 2014 has now begun and we couldn't be more excited.
He alone gives sight to the blind, gives drug addicts an addiction to Him and shows the prostitute her worth and dignity. Our prayer is to see many resurrections happen annually through this event. Please pray for us as we ask God to show up, move in the hearts of those in our neighborhood, add to His church and work together towards the greater good of a better Washington Park.
We're expecting great things. To God be the glory!!
City Alive 2013
Reflections from our neighbors :
"This Event was Really Good We Got People Out and I believe people Life changed Through Jesus. I See How People were Touched And We Even had A Dude Who Fired Up A Blunt Out There And He Was Impacted By This Even This Was Powerful Through Jesus And I Know He's Working On More And More Miracles" - 10th grader
"I think City Alive Block Party was so successful it brought many people of different backgrounds together for the Glory of God and the atmosphere was so full of Jesus presence whether they received a message or not they came out and just talked to someone about the Goodness of God just that alone impacted my life how we were all able to really enjoy a Christian event without any problems at all for once in Washington Park cause usually when an event is held in the Park there are shootings resulting from ongoing problems in our Community- Domestic violence, Drugs or kid fights where Adults are usually involved in them instead of solving the conflict...I hope we can do this every year and I would love to be apart of it anyway I can" - Mom of 7