Let the Community Say, "Amen": 2020 Vision for Christian Community Development in Northeast Central Durham, NC
Repository Usage Stats
Christian community development (CCD) practitioners are a growing body of contemporary Christian servant-leaders, who are committed to building beloved community in neighborhoods labeled as “under-resourced” across the country. In September 2014, nearly 3,000 CCD proponents, pastors, practitioners, and students from all across the U.S. and oversees gathered for the 26th Annual Christian Community Development Association National Conference in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. The theme for the conference was “flourishing.”
During the 12 months preceding the 4-day conference event, local church, and community leaders from Raleigh-Durham and vicinity gathered monthly to build relationships, plan, and coordinate the logistics. The conference provided a fresh opportunity for the Durham community to examine and consider the state of relations between the local church and the community. Local conference organizers comprised of clergy, lay persons, CEOs, executive directors of non-profit organizations, government workers, and independent residents promised to continue to meet to build upon learnings, strategize community initiatives, and seek to unify the Body of Christ in Durham.
This thesis draws upon the principles and practices espoused by CCDA and deals specifically with the lived experiences of Christian servants, churches, and institutions seeking to do good in Northeast Central Durham. The questions explored and claims made in this thesis deal with whether there is sufficient historical evidence for real community flourishing in NECD through holistic church-based community engagement. The period from 1994 – 2014 serves as the historical frame of this project while the project’s sociological scope is conscribed within a specific, 4 square-mile area of NECD.
Theologically, this thesis is grounded in the leadership concept of priestly listening and faithful Christian witness inspired by prophetic hope and practical models of church and community mutual enrichment. The core claim and final move of this thesis is that faithful and effective works of love are bound to emerge in NECD either through one or several local churches with the right catalysts. This final project illumines the embers of hope in the midst of painful realities whereby independent Christian efforts and congregational activities have and have yet to be the most powerful agents of change in ways that politicians and city governments cannot fathom. DurhamCares, Inc., a Christian non-profit organization emerges to work strategically for church-based mobilization initiatives collaborating with the community toward collective action in cooperation with government, businesses, and area non-profit organizations. There is a heightened sense of urgency in the city as tragedies in other cities draw nationwide lament and protest for justice.
Through a humble posture of listening to the community and responding faithfully to calls to action, local churches can lead the way to holistic solutions in action that address their community’s most pressing problems and highest aspirations. NECD is a vibrant playground for just such consideration and hope.