Jim and Glenda knew it was time to rekindle the relationships in their neighborhood, so they started a Love Where You Live group.
When Jim and Glenda Rakes first talked to their neighbors about participating in Love Where You Live, they were met with excitement. “All the neighbors we talked to were open to meeting together,” the couple said.
The Rakes’ neighborhood is filled with “a great mix of people – from retired couples to families with young children.” A Neighborhood Gathering was an ideal opportunity to bring back the sense of community that had faded over the years.
At the first gathering new and “old” neighbors got to know one another. The conversation after the video was free-flowing, and as a group, the neighbors began planning events and tasks to benefit their neighborhood. Glenda was even assigned the task to regularly check on a neighbor who was caring for a sick family member.
“Many expressed that as our children had grown up and moved away, the community feel had been lost, and they wanted it back.”
The following gathering was well-attended and the neighbors dove into talking about the weighty topics of grace and tolerance. The conversation started a little slow, but ended up being very fruitful.
“Grace was a new concept for some in our gathering,” they said. “We had a great discussion of what grace was from a Christian perspective (God’s unmerited favor) and from a general perspective (moving from feeling neutral about someone/something to acceptance and extending kindness).”
Looking back on the conversation, Glenda said, “I think we will all really contemplate how extending grace could change our neighborhood.”
Although the concept of grace wasn’t new to Jim and Glenda, they have been challenged to look past themselves and to those who live closest to them. Likewise, they have found a new sense of community in their neighborhood and have been reminded that “we all need Jesus.”