Neighborhood Opportunity Network

Supporting one another in a time of crisis

Beloved Community!

Posted by brandnuheavy on November 22, 2010

On Thursday evening, November 18th, more than 70 diverse members of the Long Branch neighborhood came together at Clifton Park Baptist Church to share a meal and to practice community.

The church gymnasium was the perfect venue for the large crowd.

The gathering brought together members of three different community groups: (1) Members of the congregation at Clifton Park Baptist Church which is largely African American and African immigrant, (2) Members of IMPACT’s Long Branch Neighbor Corps–a diverse group with members from more than 9 different countries, and (3) Members of Cristo Vive, a home-based church in Takoma Park with a predominantly Latino membership.

These ladies coordinated the serving of the delicious food!

The evening kicked-off with the sharing of a potluck meal. The food included Ethiopian injera and doro wot. There were Salvadoran pupusas and tamales and Greek potatoes. And there was plain old (and very yummy) macaroni and cheese!

Foods from all over the globe.

At dinner everyone was asked to sit at a table with someone they didn’t know. There was intentional dinner conversation around the question: “What are you thankful for?”

Intergenerational dialogue!

After dinner, we learned more about the history and convictions of each of the three groups. The clear message of the evening was that there were more commonalities than differences among participants and that people had come because of a belief in the power of community.

Nana (Clifton Park) and Omar (Cristo Vive) address the gathering.

Participants were invited to share stories of when they’d experienced “community.” Genet told of idirs which are Ethiopian community groups that come together to help families with burial costs when they’ve lost a loved one. Others shared stories of communities celebrating and supporting births. Mama Lillian recalled a time when her kids were young and her DC apartment was the place where all the neighborhood children gathered for Sunday dinner.

Pastor Amaya shares what community means for him.

The evening ended with Pastor Essentino Lewis (Clifton Park) reminding the gathering of the higher call to build community and be accountable to one another. It was an amazing evening of bringing diverse people together to talk about what connects us to each other. The three groups will continue talking and looking for opportunities to collaborate on practicing community in Long Branch and beyond. This night was just the beginning!

Future community builder!

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