Our parish has been co-locating in a struggling but historic neighborhood called South Park in southeast Raleigh. In partnership with a non-profit community development organization called Passage Home, we are ministering out of a home in this neighborhood, and we are calling this place the Whitaker Home (named after the family who lived in it for many, many years).
Through the Whitaker Home, we enter the many social tensions and injustices that mark our day: poverty, shame, disempowerment, deficient housing, lack of meaningful work, racial unrest, gentrification, addiction, broken families, hopelessness, gangs, youth despair, loneliness, materialism, prostitution. There is also so much rich history in this neighborhood, good and beautiful people, an array of gifts and hopes and dreams, and a yearning for meaning and new life. God is already among this people and in this place. We are blessed to find ourselves there.
We are showing up in South Park on a regular basis building relationships with neighbors, working in the community garden, sharing meals with key community leaders, and providing service at Passage Home with their various projects and activities. This is part of our efforts to learn what the community needs and how we can help, and more generally, it is our attempt to live into Pope Francis’ call to us to “go forth,” to be a people in solidarity with others, and to share the joy of the gospel.
Every Tuesday parishioners gather at the Whitaker Home, have lunch together, do some Centering Prayer, and go out into community to do some kind of service. We’ve been meeting some amazing people with rich histories in Raleigh, and we’ve been learning a lot about complicated social issues that affect people’s lives, things like the difficulties finding work with a felony on one’s record and the lack of affordable housing in Wake County.
You are always welcome to join us on a Tuesday for lunch, prayer, and service, starting at noon and ending around 4pm.
In addition, there are a number of seasonal ways you can join us in this service of solidarity in southeast Raleigh:
- Attend one of our day-immersions on a Saturday or Sunday where you learn about the issues affecting our those living in South Park, share a meal with some neighbors we have a relationship with, and do some kind of service project
- Provide and serve meals at Shaw University on Tuesday evening as part of the Launch Raleigh entrepreneur class
- Be a tutor for children in the neighborhood on Monday afternoons
- “Adopt” a family living in southeast Raleigh for a holiday box of food and deliver to a family’s home
- Participate in the Passage Home holiday party for their clients and children to help with holiday activities, gift wrapping , food serving, and general festive joy.
We have a weekly newsletter that shares up-to-date happenings at the Whitaker Home. Please contact Marianne Williams if you are interested in receiving this newsletter and participating in these opportunities to be in relationship with God’s loved ones in southeast Raleigh – firstname.lastname@example.org, 919-280-8984