Members of First Christian Reformed Church in Vancouver, British Columbia, explored the idea of what it means to be a good neighbor when they hosted a block party in their area of the city.
“One of the priorities we have as a church is to build relationships with the neighbors near our church, and a huge part of that has been having church members move into the neighborhood to ‘seek the good of the city’ where we live,” said pastor Trevor Vanderveen.
Sixteen church members, including Vanderveen and his wife, Julia, who co-pastors the church, live within a few blocks of the church. They were joined by about 40 of their neighbors to celebrate the end of summer with games, crafts, and food.
The group applied for funding through the City of Vancouver and received a community event grant from the Vancouver Foundation. The church provided tables as well as the one essential piece of equipment for any Vancouver event: the coffee machine.
“I think all of us involved in the block party see ourselves as called to invest in the places where we live, and we see that investment as part of the larger call of kingdom building,” said Dena Nicolai, the church’s community connections coordinator and one of the event organizers.
Nicolai hopes to use this experience as a way to help other church members organize similar events and imagine creative ways to reach out in their own neighborhoods.
“Part of the discussion around the block party was to begin developing relationships with our neighbors. This for me is a direct connection with God's call to live out his love in the communities he has placed us,” echoed fellow organizer Lindsay Vander Hoek.