This past weekend we heard a few puns as we built our neighbourhoods first ‘bee hotel.’ Yes, it was sort of a work bee. Presence matters, and that played into the word, “be.” All in all, bees are interesting for all ages, and we were all educated as we beautified our neighbourhood. We also put up some butterfly homes and added some strategic plants for hummingbirds, along with signage that gave us ‘advice’ from these creatures. And then the group of us ended with a BBQ meal where we continued to forge relationships.
During the course of the few hours, we had visitors. Their was a wedding in the yard a few houses down, so we had beautifully dressed people come visit. One of our elderly men, who lives a couple houses down from where we worked, also came by to visit (and to give advice), but needed to return to rest due to the hot weather. One grandmother, who had helped earlier, returned with her grandchildren to explore the objectives that our neighbourhood was looking to accomplish. And among those people we need to acknowledge the generosity of one of the neighbours who did not make it, but donated a great deal of material to help get the job done (DB Bobcat).
As I reflect back on the day, I am grateful for all of these many parts we experienced. Personally, I am always pleasantly surprised at what brings value to the neighbouorhood! Perhaps you may want to imagine you were there, and ask yourself which part may have been most valuable from your perspective?
This week was full of block parties and neighbourhood initiatives including the grand opening of the Good Neighbour CoffeeHouse. Pictures are worth a thousand words!
Over the past year a number of neighbourhood leaders and business men helped orchestrate a brand new ‘third space’ called the “Good Neighbour CoffeeHouse.” This business supports initiatives that help neighbours connect and for people to “bloom where they are planted.” The space features true stories from various neighbourhoods, private tours for neighbouorhoods, and a regular place in which neighbours can bump into each other. And we would like to invite you to our open house this Saturday, June 17th from 7am – 7pm to celebrate with us. Ribbon cutting at 1:30pm. Official book launch for our book, “Neighouring For Life.” We will be skyping with the farmers who grow our beans in Honduras. And discounting all food and drink items for the day. Thanks for your support!
This week marks the opening of the new Good Neighbour CoffeeHouse in Lacombe, Alberta. This is a unique ‘third space’ that emphasizes the personal relationship we have with the farmers, while custom roasting their coffee beans. We will feature these farmers because of the partnership we have in community development. With this in mind, we will emphasize our role in community development through neighbourhoods. We definitely want to promote what we know is a clear Biblical commandment, “to love your neighbour.” And to start us off this week, we have Jim Diers flying in from Seattle to lead various sessions in Red Deer, which will wind up in our CoffeeHouse on Thursday, Jue 1rst. He has challenged and changed the city of Seattle with neighbouorhood initiatives over the past years. See more at http://www.neighborpower.org/
We are excited to have so many people involved with this initiative and look forward to the creative ways in which we can blend (pun intended) business with neighbourhoods. Let me just say we have a few surprise that may catch the attention of those who look to see their neighbourhood flourish. Stay Tuned!
A friend once shared his weird insight. He said, “You don’t know, what you don’t know.” The obvious statement seemed to go a little deeper when he said it. I suppose that is why we have ‘aha’ moments, or why we try to get others to, “See what I mean?”
We are approaching the heart of block party month. We would like to make resources available to help make it easy for anyone to start a block party. But perhaps we need to be reminded that the relationships in which we look to engage in our neighbourhoods is of greater value than the block party itself. We can be overly concerned about numbers and getting the ‘party’ just right at the expense of “loving our neighbours.” And it is in the loving of neighbours that we most likely have those ‘aha’ moments. As a result, some have seen neighbours in different light, some have finally gotten to know them in the first place, and still others have been surprised at how neighbours actually want to engage. But when neighbours eat and share together, it is not uncommon to hear that “their eyes were opened.”
What is so valuable about the newly built front porch and an Easter egg hunt?
Easter is simply about new life we receive from the good news of Christ overcoming death. Unreal. Unbelievable. Actually believable! Since the good news has been so far removed from our culture, it takes intentional action to engage in those who live around us to help become reacquainted with how good the news is. Our presence among neighbours is valuable to bridge the good news of Scripture with culture. Much like two best friends from high school, who find they have very little in common at the 25th reunion, need something to help to help them reconnect. Just when life seems sucked dry, life is breathed back in.
One contractor created a sauna near the back alley of his home, generating interest from neighbours. The interested turned this “hot spot” into a connecting place for neighbbours (believe it or not). There is nothing here for you or I to duplicate. Neighbouring is much like google; you develop the ‘platform’ and see where it takes you. Of course, it takes an open mind and an open heart and an imagination that leads to vulnerability, trust and love of neighbour without condition. The sauna is a surprise to some, but the concept is unique to its unique neighbourhood.
This led the young builder to the next step. A few of those who gathered in this neighbourhood liked the idea of a neutral space for some of the families to hang out. It started with the neighbourhood men and a pool table. One of the men said he wouldn’t mind paying $50 a month to help the cause. This turned into momentum for this builder’s dream, and so he literally took the growing contributions to the bank. The bank responded favourably and construction began. A home for the pool table and a serious ventilation system that would help suck out the smoke from the new cigar club that formed in this same neighbourhood.
Oddly enough, one unwritten rule came into play. In order for the neighbourhood to grow, family members are encouraged to show up independently as to enhance connecting among neighbours.
Historically, third spaces were intentionally set up for people to have informal opportunity to ‘bump into each other’ as a way to enhance community development. These spaces were referred to as a “PUB” which literally stood for PUBlic place. Other third spaces have been noted as parks and roads which are specified as public property. Not all of these spaces are conducive to public interaction. Therefore, there is a growing need for intentional third spaces.
Soon we will be issuing a press release for such a space in Lacombe, Alberta. The name:
Good Neighbour CoffeeHouse!
It will feature a coffee roasting area and our Good Neighbour Coffee which has featured the true stories of what’s been happening in our neighbourhoods. Our board of directors have been meeting weekly, the last being with our interior designer. And of course the design and space will lend itself to the intentional efforts that has been the heartbeat of Neighbourhood Life. Opening May 2017!
More at https://twitter.com/GNCoffeeHouse
Our annual retreat has proven to be a great inspiration. Not only has it been a true fulfillment of the word ‘retreat’, it has been a connecting point for those who want to meet others who creatively invest in their neighbourhood. And it’s also a great venue for them to meet you! The story telling and sharing has been second only to the time to retreat. Meet the elderly who intentionally moved into a neighbourhood for reasons beyond self-interest, and meet the the young families who creatively love their neighbours within a condensed populated neighbourhood. Urban or rural, there will certainly be stories of heartbreak and triumph; either way, the stories reveal how God has gone first to pave the way to love your neighbour.
Here is more info and the registration:
After reflecting on their neighbourhood over the past year, neighbours could see how things can get rolling…..
Our neighborhood didn’t have much to do with one another until we decided to plan a block party. We set up a facebook page for our block and kept in touch that way throughout the year. The following year, a couple other neighbors decided to get the ball rolling and took initiative to plan the next block party. Both were a huge hit and people really seemed to connect and have many positive things to share.
It didn’t end there! This year, in December, a couple girls on the block offered to use their gifts and invite all the neighbors to a Christmas card making evening. The girl organizing the card making did not have a home large enough so another neighbor on the block was happy to invite everyone into her home. Was such a success! We even had a new neighbor show up and she felt so welcomed by her new community.
Submitted by a Neighbourhood Life participant.