Part of our ministry here at First Reformed Church is the offer of space to various groups of the neighborhood. With this, we hope to not just support our utility costs, but, indeed, to build community. In order to be even more intentional, we invited representatives from all eleven groups to a “block party” in the end of the year. Ben Berman, Lolly Schenk and Susan and I prepared a feast with food from the Phoenician Supermarket in North Brunswick.
It was long overdue that we met in this round. For some, it was the first time that they saw each other face to face. So there was a lot of sharing. We even started painting a community canvas together – something Raíces Cultural Center had introduced. It’s a canvas showing our community in the shape of a tree. Participants were invited to paint parts of the tree according to their own need for expression.
Finally, the round decided to engage in some community service together. We discussed two possibilities: The Family Dinner Program “House of Manna” always appreciates accompanying offers. It would not be difficult for our various groups to rotate their presence during the meal times of House of Manna. Another possibility was the idea of a kiosk prepared by our groups for young people in New Brunswick, preferably during sports games at various locations. The kiosk would offer an invitation to our groups and thus offer an alternative to hanging out in the streets.
Upon conclusion, we all agreed: The block party was an evening filled with laughter, fellowship, serious talk, planning for the future and, last but not least, good food from our Lebanese neighbors.