This summer has consisted of many small transitions that have all been a part of one big transition. Below, some of this transition is detailed:
We have landed at a new church and are excited about what the Lord is doing through it. Awaken Community Covenant is now 6 years old and is located in the West 7th neighborhood. Awaken’s vision is:
“We long to be a part of a movement of God’s Spirit in Saint Paul and the
greater Twin Cities by planting new churches, birthing new things in and for the city,
and coming alongside of those doing the work of the Kingdom.
We want to be waking up to what God is doing in the world,
in our neighborhoods and in our own lives.”
We are excited about Awaken’s heart for the neighborhood and the world abroad, as well as their commitment to God’s work in and through the people gathered on Sunday mornings. I (James) am interning at Awaken in a community development role. Specifically, I will be assisting the church in developing intentional, missional community and partnering with local ministries and non-profits to love and serve the neighborhood. I’m still working away at my degree(s) from the University of Northwestern St. Paul. Assuming no earth-shattering changes come our way, I’ll have earned my bachelor’s degree May, 2017 and my M.Div. May, 2018.
Haley also has exciting news! She started in May at The Salvation Army’s Northern Divisional Headquarters as a temp to cover their Online Communications Manager’s maternity leave. We were not sure what Haley would do for employment after this temp position ended, but we knew God would provide. Haley recently accepted a position in the same building as the Manager of Donor Offers. This position makes use of her skill as a writer, as well as her ability to communicate dreams and needs while inviting others to partner with The Salvation Army.
Regarding our new stomping grounds: West 7th, where Awaken is located, is an historic neighborhood in St. Paul, set along the north side of the river. At first glance, one sees a lower-middle class neighborhood for working adults. At second glance, one begins to see the many homeless folks who live in and around the neighborhood. At third glance, we’re not quite sure what it is. It’s diverse in demographic, rich in culture, and full of opportunity. One store owner described it to me as a neighborhood that is being revitalized. I’d say that description is right on the money. Young people are starting up (pretty successful!) businesses along the busy street that stretches from downtown to I-35E. Young families are moving in. Yet the pervasive issues of homelessness, crumbling houses, and more remain. It’s our hope that through living the Christian life here, we might see the Kingdom advanced.
We had started to become discouraged about finding housing in West 7th. The neighborhood is an odd place with strange properties and a fluctuating market. However, after much searching we found the home where we believe God will use us to do the most good. As of August 31st, we will officially be homeowners! We are excited about the ways God will use our home to minister to our neighbors! We are excited about visitors whenever some may be passing by, so please call us if you ever need a warm bed or a hot meal!
Thanks for praying for us and loving us. To our friends in Rochester and elsewhere, we miss you and are thankful for you. To our friends nearby, we are excited to be closer! And to our new neighbors and not-quite-yet friends in St. Paul, we can’t wait to go deeper in friendship with you!