Dave Ball, President of the Bannerman Community League, and city representative Howard Lawrence came to talk with our Managing Elders this week. We talked about how, as church, Community League, and city government, we might partner together to make Bannerman a better place to live: a place where neighbours know and care about one another, where elderly people can meaningfully contribute to the community and have their own needs met, where people can enjoy friendship around common interests, and where people who need help to overcome an addiction can find supportive friends from the neighbourhood to help them on their journey.
This conversation came about as a result of the City of Edmonton's Abundant Communities Initiative - an idea for resetoring neighbourliness to neighbourhoods. The plan aims to raise up volunteers who will survey people in the community to learn who they are, and then connect them based on their interests, needs, and strengths. Because of the interest shown by both our church and the Community League, the city has chosen Bannerman to be a pilot area for this project. If the idea proves successful, they will take it citywide. It was truly a historic moment: Our church leadership looking into the eyes of caring people from Bannerman and saying "along with you we arecommitted to the wellbeing of our church's community -- you can count on us as partners". We agreed to donate $2,500 to hire the "Community Connector" who will in turn recruit 50 "Block connectors" to carry out the surveys. We also committed ourselves to encourage Bethel's Bannerman residents to give their enthusiastic support to the project. Perhaps most importantly, we built a bridge. We gave a strong message to our city and immediate community that we are a church that cares and, in so doing, we hope, let the light of Christ shine into our neighbourhood.