What do Laundromats and Community Gardens have in common? Not much I suppose, except they both came through my inbox on a recent Tuesday afternoon as I waited for my daughter to get off work at the Aldershot Library.
Earlier that Tuesday I had been having conversations about Next Door. If you haven’t been, Next Door is the ForestView ministry centre. Specifically, it’s a funky little storefront in Aldershot where good things are happening. One downside is that, along the side of a strip plaza, it’s not very visible. I am reminded of this as I give directions to first time visitors…it’s in the Home Hardware plaza, along the side strip, facing the Bingo Hall, next to Compassion Society. There’s no unit # so look for the sign on the door.
Aside from low visibility, the other disadvantage of our location is that as our ministry draws us deeper into the Warwick Surrey community we find our location to be a bit far away. Not really far, but far enough to be a deterrent for people to just drop in.
Given these drawbacks, we’ve begun to ask if we should look for a new location. Something more visible and something closer to Warwick Surrey. So, earlier on that Tuesday, Angie and I met for a morning coffee to talk about a plaza in the shadows of the Warwick Surrey apartments that has a couple of vacant units. We considered the things we hope to do at the local park, and how if Next Door was truly next door to Warwick Surrey people could more easily connect to the space. We liked that. As the conversation weaved and bobbed we also talked about the Laundromat in the plaza where people spend a lot of time doing, well, laundry, and not much else. Maybe Next Door could be a place for people to hang out while waiting for that last load to dry? All to say, we left the conversation encouraged by the possibility.
Fast forward ahead to where this blog post started – the Aldershot Library. As I went through my emails late that afternoon I found first, one from Angie, telling me that Next Door was given permission to have a garden plot at the community garden located, guess where? In Warwick Surrey and around the corner from the plaza in question. Interesting. I replied to Angie, something like, imagine if people could garden together and then come back to Next Door to sort produce and have a meal together…if only we were closer to the community 😉
After looking at Angie’s email I opened another email from a colleague, Marcus. He thought I’d enjoy a blog post from a guy whose church is looking to develop a Third Space that isn’t a coffee shop, supposing that latte’s and flat whites are beyond reach for most people living in poverty. Thinking what else, his wife stumbled upon a Laundromat. It was there that she discovered a Third Space for people in poverty. Mmm. This has my attention.
So, what do Community Gardens and Laundromats have in common? For me they are both confirmation. What do you think? Are these emails a nudge from our Father that our idea of relocating is worth exploring? Does He possibly work that way?
I’m not sure how you would answer that question but I know that I feel pretty encouraged and excited. Is it going to happen? Are we going to move? I’m not sure. Our Father would need to further intervene to make it possible. Are we going to explore it further? Well, let’s say I’ve already made some phone calls.