Ben White's Adventures with softened hearts

Making a splash in my neighborhood (You can too!)

Putting Circle of Hope on the Map in OUR Neighborhoods

This month, Circle of Hope sponsored the West Collingswood Extension Civic Association newsletter. That’s my neighborhood. It’s a wonderful, weird little slice of South Jersey. It is part of Haddon Township, but separated from the largest chunk of this patchwork township by Collingswood. AND my zip code always comes up as “Oaklyn, New Jersey” on my weather app. Very strange. This all goes to show that the lines that cut up the megalopolis are incredibly arbitrary. I’m glad Circle of Hope crosses almost all of them.

And yet, the West Collingswood Extension DOES have a sense of itself. It’s 16 residential square blocks that you can snake your dog through, walking every street, in 30 minutes. The West Collingswood Extension Civic Association has been in existence since 1939. The first Fourth of July Parade took place in 1943, and it has continued every year since! I think it was in the 1950s that everyone in the neighborhood pitched in to DIY-refurbish the old West Collingwood Train Station building which is now the headquarters of all our events and available to rent for parties.

I kind of put my foot in my mouth when I volunteered Circle of Hope to sponsor the printing of our July Newsletter because I had no idea how much color copies cost! It ended up being almost $300. I had to get permission from the other Circle of Hope pastors to foot such a bill out of our Common Fund budget’s outreach line, but thankfully they said yes.

Introducing the Neighborhood Love Project

But let’s keep being a tangible blessing¬† in every slice of South Jersey we live in. When you have an idea for how Circle of Hope can support you in blessing YOUR neighborhood, it would probably be better to know the cost BEFORE your promise any money on our behalf. I don’t think the $300 was a waste however, because Circle of Hope needs to get into a lot more neighborhoods. We need to literally put ourselves on the map as the West Collingswood Civic Association Vice President did in the July Newsletter.

I am convinced that there are a lot more people looking for the next generation of the church in our region than we yet know. We need to “let our little light shine” a bit more because there are a lot more people “down in the valley trying to get ho-o-o-ome” as our sisters sang at the At-Home Sunday Meeting a few months back (sing along). Let’s find them in our neighborhoods. If you have an idea for how to bless your neighbors with a little bit of money please submit your idea via email at [email protected] and put “Neighborhood Love Project” in the subject. Include a description of the project (and the cost!) Take pictures of whatever happens and I will tell the story on “Today, if You Hear His Voice.”

Highlights from July 4 with the West Collingswood Civic Association

Here are some more pictures from the Fourth of July parade. I got to emcee and host the games rocking my Circle of Hope swag (circleofhope.net/shop). Oliver and Theo were in the bike parade bringing their peacemaker alternatives to the nationalism.

Hope to hear form you soon!

1 Comment

  1. Jonny Rashid

    Cool idea, Ben!

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