The congregation I'm a part of is in an interesting situation. When it started, 35 years ago, the congregation and the neighborhood where our building is located was on the edge of development. The houses were brand new, and many of the people who moved in were young families who had the means and upward mobility to afford a new house in a new neighborhood.
That was 35 years ago. Now, the edge of development is three or four rings away, toward the south and east. And the neighborhood where we are is different. Now, some of those families who moved in when the houses were new are still in the same houses. Others, though, have moved out and (because they're older) the houses have decreased in relative value. So the people moving in now don't have the same financial means at their disposal.
** this brings up a whole 'nother topic, the economy, which is a hot topic right now, and which even beyond the current focus is too broad for me to write about here, or even to really understand ... though I do have some opinions. Maybe another day for those **
So we find ourselves, at HLLC, facing a situation which I don't think has received much attention. A suburban congregation dealing with neighborhood transition. To further complicate things, the nearby library and rec center (and maybe some other facilities) have recently shut down, leaving many children without a place to go. Some folks at HLLC have started talking about whether we can use our church building to take up some of that slack (this makes me happy, by the way).
I know there are a lot of urban congregations that have dealt very well with neighborhood transition. But urban areas seem to have been built before cars were quite so ubiquitous. In contrast, many suburban areas were built with the assumption that everyone would drive almost everywhere. Suburban neighborhood ministry necessarily must look different in some ways from urban neighborhood ministries. I think we might be beginning to explore what that will look like.