A Tale of Two Conversations

A Tale of Two Conversations

Housing and Neighborhood Engagement Update

Last month, we described the history and progress of our Affordable Housing ministry. We were waiting to learn if the LIFT (Local Innovation and Fast Track) and Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) grants we submitted were accepted. We have since learned our requests were denied. The good news is the grantors considered our proposal one of the best they’ve seen and encouraged us to resubmit it—after we successfully secure major funding for The Alcena. If you think of funding as a layer cake, LIFT and LIHTC are the top layers and the icing, not the bottom layers. So the Affordable Housing ministry is back to the waiting game as we pursue other grants and funding possibilities.

In the meantime, St. Philip the Deacon continues a parallel ministry conversation. We affirm every Sunday that our mission entails being “…a vital presence in the lives of individuals, families, and the community.” It was a natural evolution from our Leaven community discussions on Affordable Housing to wonder how our neighbors might react to a major construction project. This spring, some parishioners and friends from Leaven reached out to individuals and institutions around the Church to hear what they have to say about the neighborhood.

The conversations were revealing. A common theme, for newcomers and long-time residents alike, was the desire for safe venues and events where people can meet one another. This search for common ground forms the basis of the Neighborhood Engagement conversation. What do residents cherish about the neighborhood—and how can St. Philip respond to the needs, hopes, and dreams of those around us?

Mtr. Alcena, Bernadine Clay, Janet Robinson, and Cynthia Faust have been meeting with Mtr. Maria to follow the threads of these two conversations. Now we invite all members of the parish to join not only the discussion but also the action as we move forward. During the rest of the summer, we will use our breakout sessions to explore what matters most to us. This practice of sharing and listening will prepare us to launch our Neighborhood Engagement ministry—from door-to-door outreach to a Harvest Homecoming Festival. We look forward to your participation!