FCS Is Moving to South Atlanta!

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by Katie Delp

The GlenCastle campus has been a home for FCS for twenty-five years. When our ministry was focused in Grant Park, we moved into these neighborhood historic buildings and got to work. From that space, countless dreams were dreamed, visions pursued, programs launched, and families impacted.  

In the last fifteen years, our attention has focused in the Historic South Atlanta community, and we are excited to relocate all of our team to the Gateway Building right in the neighborhood. This move supports our programs already present in the space, including Carver Neighborhood Market, Community Grounds Cafe, and the South Atlanta Bike Shop. Furthermore, the sale of the GlenCastle campus will allow us to make a significant investment in our target community.

We’re excited for the ways this transition will ignite our impact in Historic South Atlanta. If you want an inside look at our new space, we’d love for you to come by and see us!

As of October 1, 2016, our new physical address is 1297 McDonough Blvd, SE, Atlanta, GA 30315. Our mailing address will remain PO Box 17628, Atlanta, GA 30316.

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7 Books to Build Your Smart Charity Library

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At FCS we believe that how we do ministry and form partnerships in urban communities matters as much as what we do. Maybe you’re new to the idea of smart charity, or perhaps you’ve been doing community development work for years, but want some refreshing resources. We’ve put together a list of 7 books worth checking out.

#1 Slow Kingdom Coming: Practices for Doing Justice, Loving Mercy and Walking Humbly in the World

Blending personal stories and theological insights, Kent Annan’s new book walks us through the sometimes frustrating and slow work of pursuing justice. He offers 5 disciplines - almost more like spiritual practices - meant to encourage and refresh those feeling tired and discouraged.

#2 Charity Detox: What Charity Would Look Like If We Cared About Results

In his newest book, FCS Founder Bob Lupton, challenges many of the traditional ideas of charity. He asks what would charity look like if we, instead of creating dependency, measured our work by its’ ability to alleviate poverty and needs? He offers strategic examples of organizations implementing these groundbreaking new models.

#3 Embrace: God’s Radical Shalom for a Divided World

It’s easy to live in a world divided by things like class, race, and values. Too often we ignore people who are different from us. But God’s call for the church is the opposite. Leroy Barber writes about how and why we need to embrace all kinds of people and communities, especially those that have been marginalized.

#4 Where the Cross Meets the Street: What Happens to the Neighborhood When God Is at the Center

Noel Castellanos, CEO of the Christian Community Development Association, challenges the churches’ sometimes narrow view of the cross and invites us to rediscover the power it can have in both, individuals and communities. Through inspiring personal stories and biblical context, he focuses on the value and need for holistic ministry in our neighborhoods and churches.

#5 Assimilate or Go Home: Notes from a Failed Missionary on Rediscovering Faith

Through rich storytelling and poetic prose,  D.L. Mayfield pulls us into the refugee community where she works, but also into her deeper journey of self-discovery. Her essays invite us to reconsider our preconceived ideas of love, justice and Kingdom work.

#6 Roadmap to Reconciliation: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness and Justice

Many of us notice the injustice and inequality in our community, and often get stuck wondering what can we really do to make a difference. In her new book, Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNiel, offers a roadmap for how to dialogue and discuss these issues and then, most importantly how to follow Jesus’ call to mobilize and move forward.

#7 Subversive Jesus: An Adventure in Justice, Mercy and Faithfulness in a Broken World

Craig Greenfield, the founder of Alongsiders International, challenges us to not only understand the subversive message of Jesus, but to actually live it. Through his captivating storytelling he leads us from the slums of Cambodia to inner city Canada, as he and his family seek to follow Jesus’ call.

P.S. If you liked these resources and want to find out more about how to implement principles of smart charity in your organization, please contact our Director of Training and Education, Dr. Shawn Duncan, to learn about FCS consulting.

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Growing Up with GlenCastle

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by Kacey Dennis, guest writer

I was about seven years old when I watched the opening ceremonies for the GlenCastle apartments. My mom and I had just returned to Atlanta after my parents divorced, and we had been searching for a place to live that we could afford. A woman at a bus stop came up to my mom and told her about Charis Community Housing and GlenCastle. We moved in the day it officially opened!

My mom was the first Resident Manager of GlenCastle, and she was amazing at caring for the residents who were our neighbors. I loved living in GlenCastle! It was such a cool place to live, and I loved our apartment. We lived on the third floor and had windows that wrapped around and you could see the Atlanta skyline. People called it the penthouse.

Mostly, I have fond memories of having a safe place. GlenCastle was so family-oriented, and we knew most of the folks who lived there. As a kid, I made fast friends, who are now some of my best friends from childhood. We had camp there every summer, and college students would live at GlenCastle to run it. We probably wore them out knocking on their doors at all hours, wanting to play! At the end of every summer, we’d perform a talent show of sorts on the front porch of GlenCastle. It was so fun.   

Across the parking lot, at the Blacksmith Shop, I began dancing with Moving in the Spirit. The whole GlenCastle campus was a bustling place of family-friendly activity. I remember the Junior League would come and take us to Braves games and community events. Each year, I looked forward to the FCS Fall Festival, where Moving in the Spirit would perform and there were booths and tables to serve the community.

My mom also became a Christian while living at GlenCastle, and we started a church at the Blacksmith Shop. A woman named Reverend Love would preach, and we had a small choir. That church was a game changer for our family.

Also at GlenCastle, my mom met my step father. They moved out of GlenCastle and into FCS’ duplexes, which served families recovering from addiction. My mom managed the properties for FCS, and eventually became the Chaplain of GlenCastle.

My mom eventually left to start her own ministry, but she stayed connected for years after to FCS. When Charis was having a party to celebrate homeownership, she asked me, now a young adult having completed graduate school in professional counseling at Georgia State, to go with her.  

We sat at a table with Dana Lupton, Executive Director of Moving in the Spirit. I had known her when I was a young dancer, but she didn’t recognize me since I’d long outgrown my Coca-Cola glasses, braids, and buck teeth. (Thank God for contacts and braces!)

Dana mentioned a possible job opening coming soon to Moving in the Spirit to run their mentoring program. I wasn’t sure I was interested, but by the time it became available, I was ready to apply. I was hired in 2007 to direct their mentor program and coordinate volunteer opportunities. In July of 2015, I transitioned to become Moving in the Spirit’s HR Manager.  

The GlenCastle campus has had a major impact on my life, and it’s so incredible to see it coming full circle. Growing up, so many friends lived in the projects, and I know it could have been an option for my family. But GlenCastle was an alternative that opened doors, and I’m thankful that my family benefited and now and both my mom and my own family have our own homes.

At the same time, the ministries that ministered to me as a child, especially Moving In the Spirit, are also growing up and moving out of that same space. We have opened a new facility this year in Old Fourth Ward, and we are in the process of constructing a state-of-the-art theater space in conjunction with Atlanta’s transit development. Meanwhile, FCS is relocating to South Atlanta, where they can continue to provide safe, affordable places to live for families who need it most.

I’m happy the building will continue to stand, and I can drive by and remember the good memories I’ve had there. And I’m excited about the new beginnings for myself, FCS, and Moving in the Spirit as we step into the next phase of our journeys.

Kacey Dennis is HR Director for Moving in the Spirit, a nationally-recognized youth development program incubated by FCS and uses the art of dance to positively transform the lives of children and teens in Atlanta, Georgia. She lives in College Park with her husband and two kids (pictured above). 

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