Who is my neighbor? Interviewing local leaders.

On Sunday we hosted our first ‘Who is my neighbor’ event with Seth interviewing out guest, city Councilman Justin Brannan.

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The vision for these events is to hear from different people in the neighborhood and ask them how we as a faith community can be better neighbors to people here in Bay Ridge. Our goal is not to change those around us, but to change ourselves and it was an incredible morning in which I left feeling challenged, encouraged and humbled.

Justin shared his heart for the neighborhood and there were three key things that were really impressed on my heart over the course of the morning:

Firstly Justin spoke about his desire to better serve the poor and broken in our neighborhood. He shared that while his heart is to work for both rich and poor alike, his experience is that those who are disadvantaged and less fortunate are often the ones who struggle to find or reach out for the help they so desperately need and can have access to.

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Secondly Justin said that after a bad experience with the church he adopted the motto ‘ortho-practice over orthodoxy!’ He spoke about the importance of not just holding a value or belief but doing something about it and acting on your convictions. As the famous quote says, "Preach the gospel always, and use words if necessary."

Finally Justin said that one of the key things he has learned about modern politics is that because of social media and the busyness of life, he, as a politician, needs to go to the people and not expect them to come to him.

What are we going to do about it?

As I’ve reflected on these, I've realized I want our church community to be all of these three things.

I want us to be a community who serve the poor and the vulnerable, a place where the broken and disadvantaged can find help and support and a place where people of all backgrounds and economic status’ are welcomed. I want us to be a community who practice what we preach and a people who are active in our community and neigborhood. And I want us to be a people who go to the City and not just expect the City to come to us. I want us to be humble enough to leave the walls of the space we gather in on a Sunday morning and reach out to those who need what we have to offer.

I find this kind of community incredibly attractive and I’m excited that I get to be part of it. If it’s the kind of community that excites you too, why not join us this coming Sunday for our second ‘Who is my neighbor’ event when we’ll be hosting local Muslim business owner Abdul Elenani. We meet every Sunday at Beyond Dance (8717 3rdAve) for coffee at 930am and live music at 10am.