IN THE WORDS OF CHRIST CHURCH PARISHIONERS FROM THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Wes CrawfordLove Where We Live, Loving Our Neighbor

We wanted you to hear the perspective of some of our own Christ Church parishioners who live in our east Austin neighborhood, within easy walking distance from our property at 112 Medina. So we asked them what they love about the neighborhood and what prayer they have for the neighborhood. Here are some snippets from what they had to say:

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT EAST AUSTIN?

“I love the vibe of our neighborhood! I love the different races, restaurant cuisine, and architecture you will see. Being able to walk from our home to parks and restaurants has been such a joy. Since we are just one mile from downtown, we really feel a part of the excitement of Austin.”

“The attached photo that I captured on one of my morning prayer walks pretty much sums up what I love–texture and history. Economic, ethical, racial, cultural, and political diversity abound resulting in a grit that forces me to think twice about who I am and who God wants me to be. I can’t ignore it. The rawness is sometime difficult to stomach, but it makes me remember just how much all of us need Jesus. And, for that reason, I am grateful to be here.”

“I love all the unique businesses and restaurants in the area, as well as the abundance of art! There are murals everywhere it seems, and many nights of the week I can hear live music being played somewhere near my house (places like the Scoot Inn or Volcom Garden). I also love how bikable the area is, and that I can easily access such beautiful spaces as the Texas State Cemetery and the hike/bike trail along the river. I don’t have much of a backyard, so having such natural beauty close at hand is such blessing from God!”

“I love the multi-layered character of our neighborhood. East 5th,6th, & 7th is a rich corridor that  seams together the hispanic barrio between our neighborhood and the lake and the African American neighborhood between us and MLK. This gives us a wonderful mix of flavors and textures of hispanic, southern black, and techie hipster culture, colliding in this dense, walkable, renewing industrial corridor. Our few blocks seem to have everything to make a thriving civic experience.  I feel like Downtown Austin is Manhattan and our neighborhood across the IH-35 “river” is Brooklyn. I don’t know another place in Austin that has such thriving variety.”

WHAT ARE YOUR PRAYERS FOR EAST AUSTIN?

“My prayers are that Christ Church would do a wonderful job of moving into the neighborhood with grace and hospitality. That our church would break the stereotypes of another something “new” coming into an old neighborhood disrupting things and taking over, but to do so with humility.  That Christ Church members would be delightfully refreshing as we represent Christians to our neighborhood.”

“That God would use Christ Church to create unity among the many churches in this neighborhood. Without even thinking very hard, I can rattle off 9–10 churches that are a relatively short distance from 112 Medina. As I walk past some of these churches in our neighborhood, my prayer is that God will enable Christ Church to build relationships with these small congregations and be a picture of unity in a nation that is struggling to be unified.”

“I have a few prayers: (1) Homelessness: I see so many people wandering the streets every day, and it breaks my heart. I want to know how to better minister to them, not just provide them with a hand-out. I pray that churches in the area will be able to show the love of Christ to these people who so desperately need it. (2) Growth: East Austin (as I’m sure you know 🙂 is growing rapidly. Every day I pass at least one (usually many more) construction projects currently in progress. It is my prayer that as the area grows that it won’t lose its unassuming, beautiful texture to become a pretentious, pristine area for only wealthier crowds. I am not a politician nor an economist, and I feel that by discussing this I’m already in over my head, but I hope that someway, somehow, God will guide the growth of this area in a way that allows all people to flourish. (3) The Church: I pray that local churches will be a light to the neighborhood, and they would act as forces of peace and love, bringing shalom to the East Austin area (because it needs it, to be sure). I pray also for newcomers like Christ Church: that we will seek to truly get to know and understand the neighborhood and it’s history (as we are already doing!) I also hope that we will be able to work with other local churches that have been here much longer than us and learn from them.”

“I pray that our neighborhood will not become homogeneous.  That somehow our hispanic and African American neighbors won’t be pushed out by skyrocketing property taxes.  I pray that white highly educated and affluent hipsters will invest themselves in East Central Austin and be welcomed as another layer of culture and not the end of existing cultures.  I pray that our church can be a catalyst of a connection between rich, poor, white, black and brown.  I pray that we will not be seen as another “service provider” oriented exclusively toward incoming hipsters and tourists from West Austin.”