Easter is the season of God’s dreams coming true, and we are dreaming with him. Throughout the next five weeks, we are sharing our 8th Street Dreams – the dreams God has given us for the 8th Street building and our new neighborhood. Leigha first shared her 8th Streets Dreams during our service on May 21, 2017.
My name is Leigha, and I am part of the Day-LaVigne Parish Group. I am here because I am an imperfect person, and I want to commit to love and be loved by a group of imperfect people through a perfect, redemptive, just, and merciful God.
What is my 8th Street Dream for our church? To begin to answer this question I had to first face the fact that I don’t really know what church is.
I found church as a barefooted child running through the blue-carpeted floors of the sanctuary.
I found church in a Nicaraguan barrio while playing the tambourine.
I found church through a warm cup of coffee and controversial conversation with a stranger.
I found church in the Philippines under a bridge that housed many children.
I found church through music and silence created by a classroom full of children on the Autism Spectrum.
I don’t know what church is- I’m just not sure. But I do know that I have found it here at Midtown church, with you, and I have dreams for us to become a church that embodies and embraces people and experiences such as these. I dream of a place where love is not defined by fear. A place where solidarity overrides preference. A place and space thoughtfully created for you, me, and the least of these.
My dream is that we are a church not defined by walls. That we are a people that choose to overcome language barriers, socioeconomic barriers, racial and gender barriers, barriers due to mental health. That the repurposing and construction of the physical walls of the 8th Street Church are not symbolic of a barrier—but as a construct of peace and a safe haven for vulnerability. My prayer is that the 8th Street Church becomes our home, and that we not only show hospitality to the people that walk in, but that our home is always open—an open space for the outcast, and a resource for the marginalized.
There are two dictionary definitions to define the word “neighbor”. The first, “noun, a person living near or next door to the speaker or person referred”. The second, “verb, to be situated next to or very near (another)”. I want to become both definitions of a neighbor. I want to care for, love on, and show Jesus to our physical neighbors. But I REALLY want to choose to the verb, the action—“to be situated next to or very near (another)” with our neighbors even when it feels difficult and uncomfortable, just as Jesus does and shows us through his teachings.
Oh, Jesus, may you give us love to show our neighbors, desire to learn from our neighbors, grace to embrace our neighbors, strength to support our neighbors, and healthy resources to provide our neighbors. To God be all the glory.
I hope that in 2022 that we are a family of people that can look back and say: “I found church in a hopeless place.”
To learn more about the 8th Street Project, go here.
It takes work (& money) to make our dreams come true. Will you join us? You can give online through our parent church, Bethany First Church of the Nazarene; make sure to mark your gift for "Midtown- 8th Street Project." You can also send cash or check to PO Box 76266, Oklahoma City, OK 73147. Contact Pastor Chris Pollock at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about giving.