On Sunday October 4th Epiphany Anglican Mission worshipped for the first time in our building in the North Valley area of Peoria. The building formally belonged to St. Andrews, which is now a part of Peoria’s St Michael’s and All Angels Church.
Epiphany set out to get to know our neighbors and listen to what they say about the neighborhood. Our goal is to be missional. We’d discern what would be good news for our new neighborhood and then organize our efforts around bringing that good news.
On our first Sunday there, I met a neighbor who goes by Maintain. He runs a car club called Flossin. We hit it off. More on him in a minute.
During our 3rd week there I asked Bill and Tim to lunch. They are a couple who live across the street in an amazing house they bought as a dump and renovated into a gorgeous home and lot. They are major stakeholders in the neighborhood, doing urban homesteading in order to improve the neighborhood. Since our lunch they’ve fixed a flood light on the side of the church.
On our fourth Sunday (October 25th) we went door-to-door to invite people to our Nov. 1st Open House dinner. No one really likes door-to-door religious people, but we made it clear we were simply inviting people to dinner because we wanted to hear about the neighborhood—the good, the bad, the ugly, the weird, and the funny.
When we were done knocking on doors, we saw Maintain and started chatting. He asked some of his club officers to drive over and meet us. We all talked for a while and realized both the church and the club like to give back to the community. So Epiphany is now going to partner with the club on a Christmas toy drive, and we’ll host the toy giveaway event at the church. I’m pretty amazed. I have no clue about urban car club culture, yet we quickly built relationships with this club. It was clear there was some spiritual hunger and curiosity within the club.
Finally, on Sunday November 1st we held our Open House. More than 60 people showed up, including leaders from the neighborhood association (like Bill and Tim), residents we met knocking on doors, and 3 dozen people from Flossin Car Club.
What’s next? We’re asking God that exact question. Clearly Bill, Tim, and the neighborhood association leaders are excited we are there. Clearly we’ve made friends with Flossin. We’ll do the toy drive with Flossin and go from there!