Monday, July 18, 2011

Unfortunately he refused services

A new piano! One of Javier’s students played one of the pop-up pianos on Make Music New York Day a few weeks ago. And sent in a  You Tube video. And won. A piano. To be donated to his school, the New York Jazz Academy. And Javier sends it to us as part of our evolving relationship. It’s painted, but in good shape. We bring it into the sanctuary. Now Jed can move ahead in planning his 8 hand piano series.  

While outside waiting for the piano, Kathy walks by. Lives in the condo north of us. Works for Human Rights First. She was one of the first Friends of West-Park. Broke away from that group and supported us in the development plan that would have restored the sanctuary. Though somewhat weary of  the process, still interested, still wants to help. I share what's been accomplished. Where we see ourselves going. She's feeling drawn to Jane's church. Something could happen here.
Trina Zelle comes through the door. I’ve known her for 43 years. Back to College of Wooster days. Part of our circle whose lives were unalterably changed by those years so we work in low paying jobs pursuing dreams that don’t change in circumstances that do. Who believed that the world could, would change if we believed hard enough, worked hard enough. And now, graying, we still do. 
She’s the new Lead Organizer for the Presbyterian Health Education and Welfare Association,  the ministry of networks that keeps me connected at the national level. The people doing grass roots justice work across the country. The last time she was here was when we did an urban minstry symposium the fall of 2001. That fall.
Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl 
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl.
Bob Dylan

How could we do urban ministry in a 9-11 world? 

We sit outside, in our backyard, drinking coffee. Today we are dealing with different issues. How to use community organizing practices  to develop grass roots justice networks that can live independently of a dying national structure. Our goal is not that we recruit them to do our agenda but that their agenda, the grassroots agenda,  will be ours.  And our advocacy will grow out of our work, not our ideology. It’s where we are today. Can we find 100 West-Parks out there to make a three year commitment? And live with integrity and engagement whether any national structure survives or not. To live as if those structures no longer have ultimate meaning. Because the time has already past. After many years of work on the US-Mexico border, she understands how work with the Latin and Chinese workers of the Justice Will be Served campaign, the effort to create a sweatshop free Upper West Side,  energizes me and ecclesiasitcal politics drains my spirit. On the national level, and here at West-Park, it’s the same struggle. 
She’s become a grandmother. As she proudly shows her pictures, Danielle lets out a gasp, the father is Caleb, an old friend from Iowa. That happens a lot around here. 

Bob and Trina
Stephen stops in. Nagging issues. The paintings in Mc Alpin, the contract, the press blurb. Think its done and it all slips away again. Trina smilles as a church full of Woodshed twentysomethings scurry around like an army of worker ants. 

Deacon James stops in. It's the spook who sat by the door, he says.  No, we've already been there, I say. James is, to say the least, not excited by our marketing venture. Sees no need for anew logo, the old one's good enough.
I’m coming past the church in a taxi. See Edward on the steps. Call the 24 hour outreach team. They promise to reach out to him. At 11 pm, they call back. 
Rev. Brashear? 
We want to report back to you. We went to the church. We spoke to Edward.

Unfortunately he refused services. 

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