Get a glimpse into the life and and work of a Community Organizer and church worker in the heart of the Jersey side of the NY metro-area.

Monday, September 26, 2011

So, I should have started this a year ago...

But I didn't, life is hectic and crazy in mostly the best ways, usually. Let me catch you up...

Since getting to New Jersey after a year in South Africa, a short bout at home in the Fern Gully of my home in Wisconsin, I've found a new home in several ways. I've made a number of friends, found a new parish to be a member of, worked in a homeless shelter through a new program, taught creative writing and art classes, went on dates, got rejected, tried new food, loved all of it (no surprise there), gotten mugged (best ways, usually), fell in love with the midtown skyline, learned to hate to drive, shrank my world's size (started seeing Brooklyn as the other side of the known universe), use broken Spanish (daily), moved from Jersey City (Heights Heights baby!) to Union City, one-and-a-half-miles up on Palisade Ave. and on the same side of the street, amazingly, where I write/type from this morning.

That was the fast version, we'll let that stick.

Anyway, now I find myself work for NEWARK ACTS again, this time under the banner of my parish home, All Saints Hoboken, at a brand new ministry site, St. John's Union City, which is 20' from my front door. It is a remnant church (the few parishioners who attend are no longer from the immediate neighborhood), but All Saints, the Diocese of Newark, and NEWARK ACTS see this as the tip-of-the-spear for renewed urban ministry.

Mi espaƱol es muy malo, though, so this is going to be fun. Union City is Hispanic and Latino, with few exceptions. The church already has one great community program: Puerta Abierta, an after-school program for 40 local school children that runs from 3-6PM. Aside from this, the congregation is essentially unknown to those closest to it physically. Part of my job is to change that.

As I stated previously, my Spanish is bad, and while most people speak at least some English, I would prefer to meet everyone halfway. It's kind of funny, having gone from a "missionary" in South Africa to being a "missioner" up the street and around the corner here in Jersey. isiXhosa doesn't get you far 'round these parts. Still, I welcome yet another challenge, and this will be the best test yet of whether I have the mettle or not to continue in my pursuit of ministry of one-sort-or-another.

The first big project that I have to work on is a conference scheduled at St. John's this November. The first things I hope to have done by then is a complete physical revamp of the building, a better relationship with all of the neighbors, as well as learning more Spanish.

Stay tuned, more to come, and as always, it'll be exciting ;)