by Katie Delp
FCS Urban Ministries partners with under-served neighborhoods to provide innovative and holistic development that produces flourishing communities where God’s Shalom is present.
That’s our mission statement. And, to be honest, there are moments when those ideals feel lofty and intangible. What all is included in holistic development? And how will we know when a community is flourishing?
But there are other moments - sacred moments - when all of the principles and ideals we hold dear materialize in a real-life interaction. For me, that happened on Mother’s Day.
There was a knock on my door in the afternoon. Jessica and Jonathan* were standing on our porch. Their mom was at work, and they asked to borrow some craft supplies to make her a Mother’s Day card. In minutes, my front porch was covered with glue, glitter, and scraps of paper as their creations came to life.
Soon after, their older brother Curtis* joined in the crafting as well. I was inside when I overheard him and my husband Jeff talking on the porch. Jeff had offered Curtis an opportunity to earn a few dollars. Curtis quickly completed the project, and Jeff took all three siblings to our local grocery, Carver Market, where they used the money to buy flowers for their mom.
Within one hour, I witnessed FCS’ core values in action. First, the power of neighboring. Because our family lives across the street from Jessica, Jonathan, and Curtis, we were able to be a part of their Mother’s Day preparations. Secondly, I saw empowerment. We could have given Curtis the cash to buy flowers, but instead, he was able to earn his own money and choose a gift for his mother.
Finally, I was reminded of the power of local business and access. The fact that Carver Market was right down the street made an impact in this experience. We would likely not have driven the fifteen or twenty minutes to another store for flowers. But having a thriving economic opportunity in our community allows residents to make meaningful purchases.
I’m grateful for these glimpses of success. We know the work of community development is slow and long-term. This Sunday afternoon was a gift to me as I witnessed the presence of neighboring, empowerment, and dignity. It was a rare and beautiful moment to see our ideals working together to bring a family joy and celebration on Mother’s Day.
*all names have been changed