Our son Tom, wife Cat and their 3 children are part of an Urban Vision team in Naenae, Lower Hutt. Its been great to watch this small group since its beginnings of moving into a neighbourhood a few years ago and how this community development model has evolved.
They moved in as 3 families, 2 of whom built houses side by side on the land beside an empty Anglican church. There has been a strand of supporting prisoners as they move back into the community, so 2 of the households have taken ex-prisoners into their homes. They have some rhythms of coming together weekly to worship, pray and share life together, and alongside that have gradually reopened the church for Sunday worship and other community activities. Tom and Cat have more of a families and neighbourhood focus, and have seen quite a number become friends together and participate in this local church fellowship. Other community activities have taken shape.. a small lawn-mowing business, a veggie co-op, pilates class ( runs before the co-op opens), Makers club (artists collective) and youth activities. Slowly others have joined the team, particularly students and young couples. Theres a great dynamic between the various circles of those who participate in the team, the church and the community.
The great things about the model are:
- Anyone can be involved in volunteering, initiating, and shaping of community activities
- People can easily move between team ( for those who want to be more intentionally committed), church, community activities at the level of involvement they have capacity and interest in.
- This is a clearly Christ motivated model, with worship at its heart.
- There is strong support for those involved.
- This is a lifestyle of discipleship and not just a volunteer opportunity
- Hospitality and mutuality and highly valued and practiced
Tom and Cat on a rare night out at the movies..