Pleasant Hope: The Heart Of A Divine Ecosystem
While participating last week in one of the Popular Education groups that I'm enrolled in, we began to discuss "ecosystems."
Do you know what an ecosystem is?
The facilitator of my class broke it down like this. "Eco" is a prefix related to the greek word "oikos" which can mean "Home." The word "system" can mean "something that works together." Therefore, Ecosystem = "Home Working Together."
When she said that I immediately thought about Pleasant Hope Baptist Church because anybody paying attention to what's happening here can see that we're not just a singular congregation; we're actually the heart of an ecosystem.
We are a Christian congregation that's in engaged in dynamic, mutually beneficial relationships with sister organizations such as Orita's Cross Freedom School, the Black Church Food Security Network, and the Pleasant Hope Community Development Corporation. These sister organizations, in many ways, serve as extensions of this ministry and help life-giving nutrients to flow back to the church as well. (In fact, most of those that work at the sister orgs are members of the church too!)
Some people in the orbit of Pleasant Hope choose to connect only with the heart of this ecosystem - the church - while others find connection only through the Freedom School or only through the Food Network. Other people flow back and forth through all the different parts of our ecosystem.
Because the values of this church flow throughout the ecosystem, no matter where one connects, they'll be blessed by the spirit of this space, place, and people. They'll also be supporting other extensions of the ecosystem whether they're actively participating in it or not. (Think, for instance about the financial offerings of the church which help to maintain the church building which is then used by the Freedom School for youth programs.)
As we prepare to return back to our worship building this Sunday - the "home base" of our ecosystem - I pray that you find a meaningful way to connect and flourish with us in this new season. Chances are, there is some place in this ecosystem that will enrich your life as you serve, learn and grow.
The more that we all reject individualism and embrace a communal identity and shared vision; the more that we will be a thriving ecosystem - a home that's working together!
If you're interested in connecting with us in some way, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org