Monday, February 9, 2015

A Community United

At the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Worship Service this past Sunday, we were asked during the time of prayer to write down three dreams, prayers, or visions we had for the Tuskegee community. A few days later, I was touched to read the responses of individuals living in Tuskegee. What did people have to say about their community, its strengths, problems, and hope for growth? The word cloud below is a compilation of what people wrote:

What struck me most about these visions for Tuskegee was the desire for unity and community. Notice the large size of the words "people", "community", "together", and "unity" in the image. More people wrote about the need for unity among neighbors, peace in spite of our differences, and praying together across different church denominations than anything else.

Another large concern displayed was stopping the violence and neighborhood crime in Tuskegee. Many individuals spoke of the need for respect of all people and the importance of love and acceptance above all else. Reading these comments, I couldn't help but draw similarities to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s focus on justice and equality for all. Dr. King's message is as imperative today as it was 50 years ago: "The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it."

 Among the various other concerns mentioned were better education, more activities for children, improved economic resources, the need for prayer, community involvement in social services, and job opportunities. Having living in Tuskegee myself for eight months, these dreams resonate with me. I cannot pretend to know firsthand the suffering many families living in poverty experience day-to-day. I have not been here long enough to fully understand the complexities of racial profiling and inequality. However, what I do know is the need for restoration in this community.

As ARM continues our commitment to love and serve in the Tuskegee community, we ask that you pray with us for the families living in this city and for the work that is ahead of us. Our dreams are big, and our vision is even bigger. One of our summer volunteers remembers, "...looking out the window at night and seeing all the potential that Tuskegee has to grow and be a wonderful place to live." Tuskegee, like many rural areas in Alabama, has plenty of potential for growth. We at ARM are hopeful for the future that God will bring for our neighbors and friends. And we are privileged to be a part of it.