Engaging Our Communities – Gentrification and Paranoia
Bob Lupton says, “The call I felt while serving in the armed forces in Vietnam caused me to leave a budding business career and pursue a ministry with delinquent urban youth” in Atlanta.
Realizing that a lasting impact on young lives required involvement with their families, Bob formed Family Consultation Service (FCS). Next, he reshaped it into a community development organization, FCS Urban Ministries, to combat the negative impact of their environment on families.
What He Said…Gentrification and Paranoia
Cities long in decline are experiencing an awakening. Condo conversions and rising rents are pushing low-income residents out to suburban communities. These unwelcome new neighbors trigger fears that the problems of the big city are invading the suburbs. But they are filling a host of important, difficult-to-fill jobs. And people of faith, who’ve spent millions on mission trips, can now serve the culturally different right in their own back yards.
Suburban church volunteers led the way in constructing homes in the inner city. Now they face the need for affordable housing in their own communities. It will take more than youth groups and paint-bucket brigades to get the job done. The talents of businessmen will be required to devise the essential mixed-income housing strategies.
Our protected lifestyles are about to be changed. It’s a moment that presents us with the opportunity to get it right. I hope we’re up to the challenge.
Adapted from Renewing the City (InterVarsity, 2005)