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Mission and Renewal in the Lowest Life Expectancy Zipcode in the Tulsa Area: Stand in the Gap With Us. Donate to Help Us Stay Open.

Hi all. I just returned from a visit and learning and missional work in New Orleans in the lower 9th and the Seventh Wards with grassroots groups like ours providing hospitality to their neighbors, struggling to make ends meet themselves, and making visible Love and Justice in the world in small ways in a truly abandoned place of Empire where most of this country has again forgotten them, moved on, and think that someone else must be taking care of all the destruction caused by the flood and broken levees that inundanted the least of these.

It is Inspiring to see what they are still doing, simply living for others and with others, even as their areas like ours continue to "get better and get worse" at the same time. As what we give of ourselves through our shared life called a government to those growing numbers in need continues to be reduced, and the gap grows between those of priviliege and those without grows wider, and we look for more and more ways to distract and distance ourselves from the life and people around us, every simple small thing we can do to turn our world toward one another, especially toward those without, is a witness to another world possible, and is a way to "part the waters" of despair and desperation and deprivation that repeatedly keep swirling around the necks of those in our neighborhoods.

And so....on Wednesday, we started up our food pantry again, and participated in a new community organizing group emerging, and worked with OU students learning about issues in our area, and Thursday we were part of the community advisory group helping to support the new Health Dept. North Regional Wellness Center. Last week even from New Orleans we were supporting the important Taste of North Tulsa Event at McLain School. And this coming weekend is a special time full of days when we will be working with others here to make a difference in the growing gap.

 You are invited to come stand in the gap with us:

Friday, Oct. 18 from 9 am to Noon during our Mobile Truck Food Pantry event where we will be serving families of students from Gilcrease Elementary School here serving much of our area. We will offer free healthy lunch afterwards to all volunteers. Come to the community center, 5920 N. Owasso Ave.

 Friday, Oct. 18, 5:30 to 8:30 pm, we will hold another of our ongoing Community Art Events at the Community Center here. Art is essential to healing, to resisting the forces that seek to turn people into objects themselves, and it unleashes the kind of power that creates spirit that changes the world.

Saturday, Oct. 19, from 10 am to Noon, our regular twice a week Food Community Day here at our Corner Store in the Center,

plus from 9:30 am on we need people for a big day of working with others coming in to make a difference in our Community Garden and Park and Orchards, 6005 N. Johnstown Ave., as we are building a children's area of vegetable playhouse village, and finishing clearing the park of remaining trash and debris from its original condition as a block of abandoned trash-filled homes and properties.

 Saturday, Oct. 19 from Noon to 3 pm visit with us at the family oriented Food Glorious Food event at the North Regional Wellness Center, 56th and N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and take part in the fun and educational events as the new Center continues to launch itself and expand services for our residents. Until it was built we were privileged to host the OU health clinic in our space and now are committed to trying to get more residents knowledgeable and comfortable with using the new health department offices and programs.

Saturday, Oct. 19, 6:30 pm we will be supporting one of the greatest non-profit operations in our neighborhood, Sarah's Residential Living Center, just north of McLain High School, as we attend its fundraising dinner and awards presentations. We were pleased to be able to nominate Nola Robinson for a Senior Service Award in recognition of her years of service to the children as part of the clothing ministry at area schools, for her work in the Turley Community Association as moderator and active participant in many litter pickup days and drives, to her support of the MS Bike Ride and her many private neighborhood actions helping people.


Sunday, Oct. 20, we will gather for worship at Church of the Restoration near Pine and Greenwood at 11 am and then eat together and we will also be hosting more volunteers and need more volunteers for a big work party again in the Community Garden and Park and Orchard. We will also be planning the Halloween Party for the following Sunday. Stay tuned for announcements about prayer and worship opportunities and study groups coming up as we approach the holiday season. On Sunday morning, Oct. 27, come with us as I will be preaching at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bartlesville.

 One of our biggest community events of the year is coming up Sunday, Oct. 27, here from 4:30 to 6;30 pm as we host our 8th Annual Old Fashioned Halloween Party. In the past several hundred persons, especially young persons, have enjoyed a free fun time at this event. You can help be a part of it. We need financial supporters for it, volunteers during it, decorators before. This year we are holding the Party as a Haunted Orchard up at our GardenPark and Orchard, 6005 N. Johnstown Ave. weather permitting (at the center if not).

Looking ahead, we are pleased to announce that we have been named a finalist for the Environmental Excellence Award by Keep Oklahoma Beautiful and will be attending a dinner in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, Nov. 19 to find out if we won, and to meet others nominated, and celebrate the work of creating spaces of beauty and sustainability in Oklahoma. We were the only one of the groups nominated for this statewide award which is completely voluntary without paid staff to help it, and yet our accomplishments this past year and more on the community garden park and orchard and its programs and what it stands for where it does, all means we are already a kind of winner to have our project put in the same category as some where millions of money and much paid staff have been working on.  Here is the link to the Awards Event:

 It was just a year ago that we received the Anita Hill Foundation Pioneer Award, and last year we also received both the Oklahoma and the Southwest Parks and Recreation awards for our new gardenpark and orchard. This year we also received an award from Sarah's Residential Living Center during their anniversary celebration. Each time we are recognized it is really our neighborhoods being recognized, and so we are looking forward next month in Oklahoma City to be able to tell the story of our very invisible to most neighborhoods.

 Looking further ahead, we will be hosting a national missional church gathering, LifeonFire, here from Feb. 28 to Mar. 2 next year, but we are already beginning to work  to get ready for it, and to work on it, and those interested should let me know. We are excited to keep learning from others and to show what happens when you turn church upside down and inside out in order to fulfill the mission of making Ultimate Love visible in the world, following freely in the walk of Jesus to do so, and sharing in the Spirit that cuts across all boundaries.


Next up will be letting you know of our End-of-the-Year Donation Campaign that will literally decide if we can keep going, hopefully keep growing, and diverse ways people can be a part of our community of mission and story and worship.

blessings, thanks and more soon, Ron

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