Crossing the City
Part of the mission of our fledgling ministry is to build deep relationships across different parts of the city. So while our church and the after school center may be separated geographically by only four miles and a fifteen minute drive, culturally, economically and aesthetically Brookline and Roxbury might as well be located on separate continents.Roxbury is gritty, densely populated and lined with unattractive circa 1970’s housing projects. Alternatively, Brookline is tree -lined, nicely manicured, pristine and the housing stock is constituted of beautifully maintained, large Victorian homes. Many of the children from the after school program are being raised in environments where crime and violence are part of daily existence while the kids of our parish are raised in an environment that encourages an unhealthy expectation of overachievement in school, in sports and in other extracurricular activities. On most days these two communities fail to interact. The kids of Roxbury and Brookline grow up in parallel but alternate universes.
The Friday Workshops have begun to change this dynamic. Once a month Brookline goes to Roxbury or Roxbury goes to Brookline. Individuals, who under normal circumstances would never have had the opportunity to meet, become friends witheach other. We begin to dialog together and discover the different challenges that we face in our lives and ways to support each other. This dynamic of developing a personal transformative relationship across communities is the essence of our ministry with Lenox. It is a lesson in the reality of social change. The type of radical change that takes root when actually we take the time to listen to each other’s experiences and develop relationships that cross barriers of race, class and thought. And so it is my deepest desire that last Friday, a genuinely transformative experience occurred on a sunny, warm, late spring day in Brookline over a game of tag and a bowl of ice cream.