Marian’s Community Mission

By Wayne Schwab —

The baptismal covenant reads:

Celebrant: Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
People: I will, with God’s help.
Celebrant: Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
People: I will, with God’s help.
Celebrant: Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of
every human being?
People: I will, with God’s help

Marian realized that the women on her street didn’t know each other.  She had moved in over a year before and had made a few friends.  As she puts it, “However, I realized I couldn’t pick most of my neighbors out of a line-up!”  They all needed a neighborhood group of some kind.  Because Marian was introverted and blunt, she was not sure she had the social skills needed to make a change.  She decided to do it, anyway, because she believed that was God calling her to do it.

Marian put a flyer on her neighbors’ doorknobs (150 of them!), inviting them for a pot-luck supper.  Twenty-one came.  They were excited to be with each other, many for the first time.   “I’ve been so isolated; thanks, thanks, thanks!” she heard over and over again.

They now meet monthly and have started a Neighborhood Watch program, put out a list of trusted baby-sitters, and “Have a sense of community that turns a bunch of houses into a neighborhood”.   A team now plans activities.  The group spreads by participants talking with their neighbors and inviting them to an activity.  Marian realizes she has stumbled on a mission in her local community.  When a few have asked why she is doing it, she answers, “I do this because I feel God calling me to do it.”

With this group effort, the Neighborhood Watch program now has all the  neighbors on email.  She also linked the email network with two nearby communities.  Recently, three bikes were stolen in one of the other communities and dumped in Marian’s community.  Many people in Marian’s community read an email notice about the robbery that led to getting the bikes back to their rightful owners. Recently, Marian has formed a Bible study group, which led again to appreciation for the opportunity to connect with each other.

This past Halloween, the streets of the neighborhood were filled with children and their parents as
never before.  All were delighted to feel at home with each other.  Marian commented, “People
need community, but they don’t know it.  A sense of community seems to be dying in America.  Community is so essential for people to feel safe and children to grow up.  And that’s why this Halloween was so much fun.”

Marian’s gift of community-building encouraged others to form the Neighborhood Watch and to
celebrate days like Halloween as a community family.  Moreover, Marian’s sense of mission led to a “proclaiming” of the good news of friendship and helping each other.  Notice as well – God gave Marian the social skills she needed to help all this to happen!