Pooling Resources to Meet Critical Needs: An Examination of Cary First Christian Church as a Site of Hospitality

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On January 16, 2016, I was installed as the pastor of Cary First Christian Church in Cary, NC. Cary First Christian Church was founded in 1868 as a congregationalist congregation for the African American community in Cary, NC. Since then, the church has sought to be a relevant community presence by addressing the challenges that face the surrounding community. As a pastor, I sought to build upon this legacy to be communally engaged by introducing a vision to the congregation to complete the design production of a community senior center and affordable housing complex that would seek to serve seniors, especially those who identify as low to moderate-income, African American, and Latino/Latinx, in the Cary Community.

This thesis will examine the theological framework that supported my pastoral vision of community development by drawing on a historical analysis of the ecclesiology of the Black Church, demonstrating the need for senior affordable housing in Cary, NC, and highlighting the ministry practices utilized to inspire collective participation in this vision. This thesis will demonstrate how a contextual exegesis of one’s context is essential in understanding the local community's needs, the congregation's capacity, and the network of resources available to determine a possible solution to a problem.

In the case of Cary First Christian Church, the problem was rising housing costs and the elimination of seniors aging in place. This problem was identified through members of the Cary First Christian Church serving seniors through a meal delivery program and witnessing the need for ongoing services to assist seniors in aging in place. Such a problem mirrors that of those in the early church, where members of the faith community needed vital resources, such as access to food and shelter. The New Testament church demonstrated intentional and organized support for those in need. Communities of faith should take a learning journey to determine how they can be sites of hospitality - meeting the needs of the most vulnerable. While some communities are not always willing to express radical hospitality - relinquishing control and being open to the improvisational move of the Holy Spirit, when communities commit themselves to being sites of hospitality, we begin to see the abundance of resources that are connected to us. This spirit inspired Cary First Christian Church as we recognized that we were blessed with assets that might be able to be deployed to help meet critical housing needs for seniors in our community.





Brickhouse, Mycal Xavier (2024). Pooling Resources to Meet Critical Needs: An Examination of Cary First Christian Church as a Site of Hospitality. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/31094.


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