We have now had 4 days to consider the ‘hangover’ significance of our Grand Opening. I asked myself, “What happened? How important was it, really?” I am convinced that it was and is one of the most important milestones I have ever personally been a part of. The meaning, for me, lies in the fact that so many people, from different races, economic backgrounds, family backgrounds, and other life experiences came together on the property that itself was a picture of ‘resurrection’ to celebrate it’s opening. The presence of those who participated, though it was powerful and a beautiful picture of the Kingdom of God was even small compared to the actual amount of people who gave of themselves to see this building come together. So many people who reside inside and outside of our ‘hood gave of their abilities, sweat, blood, financial resources, leveraged their relationships, and kept showing up together time and time again over the last 9 months. We would pray, and the right people would continually ‘show up’. Some would come consistently and chip away, like small armies (Sunday School classes, fraternities and sororities, campus groups, singles groups, persistent individuals, youth groups, etc.) Others would show up with heavy artillery when needed. But, the constant theme was that God brought the right people, at the right time. He multiplied resources. We were able to celebrate what God was doing among us together. The building gives us the space to be creative and invest in our community in ways we had been dreaming of and in ways have yet to dream of. I look forward in the coming weeks to inform you of all the encouraging initiatives going on in the building daily. This week alone we will have just under 150 kids and young adults participating in bible studies, tutoring, and job skills training. The importance of our ‘party’ was that it represented all of our coming together to practice ’resurrection’. Nothing short of our coming together would have glorified God this way. I was able to look into the eyes of kids from all over our city and see joy. I was able to look into the eyes of so many adults from all over our city and see strength and excitement. Thank you for celebrating the opening with us, whether you were physically present or not, we know you celebrate together with us what our Father is doing among us.
This year will be the third year that we will have our annual ‘Christmas Store’ in the neighborhood. Will you consider being a part of it? We took some wisdom from others who have gone before us in other urban contexts and decided that we would open up a Christmas ‘store’ rather than ‘give away’ free toys to kids. Rather than going around the parents forChristmas, we decided to allow parents in our neighborhood the same joy that you and I get when we get to see our children open the gifts that we were able to contribute towards for them. Knowing that many of our parents are not able to provide much and still pay the bills, we open up a store where toys are sold at 30 to 40 percent of the retail values. We take in donated toys, money, and toy store gift cards and set up our store in the ‘hood. The ages to be bought for are 1 year old through 15 year olds. This year it will be at our new building! You can help in a lot of ways. You, and any social or business group you are a part of, can either donate money, buy toys, or donate gift cards from Wal-Mart or Toys R Us, to Common Ground Montgomery and we can stock our shelves accordingly. You can also serve by helping stock and re-stock shelves, price toys, help us go and buy the toys, help us ‘gift wrap’ toys during the store after ‘check out’ and help carry the toys out to people’s cars. Sorry, but we already have two or three feisty neighborhood ladies who run the cash registers! Trust me… they are best suited for the job.
Christmas Store Quick Facts: