A few years ago, The Salvation Army acquired six houses in a struggling St. Louis neighborhood. The houses were initially used for transitional housing, but the federal funding ended and the houses remained.
Unwilling to abandon six homes in an area where occupancy rates were already plummeting, someone had an idea. What if we filled these houses with students and young professionals who would serve in the neighborhood in exchange for housing?
The result, while good, was essentially an Americorps type program. Our community lacked depth and a real sense of mission in our neighborhood.
I moved to St Louis about 18 months ago to establish the Urban Mission Center and to guide Temple Houses into deeper commitment to each other and to our community. The process has been slow, sometimes awkward, and often hard. But we’re beginning to recognize the formation of authentic community.
We’ve a long road ahead, but the journey is sweet.
“God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.”
1 Corinthians 3:17