West Baptist Church

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Unplug and Plug In: Neighbours 2 (Roi M)

March 14th, 2011 by Thalia Kehoe Rowden

On Tuesday at 12.51 pm most of New Zealand stopped what they were doing and joined together to observe 2 minutes silence for the victims of the recent Christchurch quake and it doesn’t seem that long ago we joined to remember the 29 men who lost their lives in the Pike River Mine.

The country’s solidarity is reflected in the incredible amount of support shown for those affected by the quake, whether through financial aid, physical help, prayer or standing together in silence.

In Christchurch itself the dividing lines that we so often see between the haves and have-nots and those of a different cultural backgrounds have suddenly blurred as communities and neighbourhoods rally together to assist one another.

What has challenged me most in the last few days is the comment that Dean Clarkson made when he spoke at our service a couple of Sundays ago: why does it take a national crisis to motivate us into helping one another?  We live in communities but often we don’t live in ‘community’ together very well.

Last year we were approached by our neighbours to see if we wanted to have a shared vegetable garden. We had the space and they had the green fingers.  It worked well and the children on both sides of the fence enjoyed taking vegetables to one another.  A small practical way of doing community together.

Another practical way would be to form a neighbourhood watch group.  This is a great way to get to know the people down the road from you.  One was formed on our street a few years back and about 10 different households would meet together at the school close to us to share afternoon tea and get to know one another.  Sadly it has gone into bit of a recess but after mentioning it a family across the road I have been motivated to get something going again.  Rather than just a ‘watch’ group It could even become more of a neighbourhood support group where we can help and support one another in practical ways on a regular basis and not just when we a hit by a crisis.

Christchurch has no doubt been change forever in more ways than one.  What will be sad though is that as the city rebuilds, the walls between neighbours rise and once again they fall into divided communities.

So, what about you and me? How are we going to ‘Step out of the Boat’ and make a change to build community?

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