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The Church by the Side of the Road

My Grandmother's favorite poem was 'The House by the Side of the Road' by Walter Foss. The poem's chorus has echoed in my heart for most of my life, especially in my ministry.

Let me live in a house by the side of the road

And be a friend to man (all people).

My home church where I grew up in Kansas City is in the heart of the neighborhood I called home through high school and college.

One day just few months before I moved to California I was coming home when I saw drove of police cars and emergency vehicles right in front of our church.

Soon after we learned that two young boys from the large apartment buildings across from our church were hit by a car, one of them had died and the other was in the hospital.

Growing up in Kansas City I had always witnessed firsthand the extreme inequities of urban life such as a lack of fresh food sources and in our case a lack of basic infrastructure-especially sidewalks.

Many people in our neighborhood did not have access to vehicular transportation and this meant they had to walk everywhere and in our neighborhood this meant walking in the street.

There had been talk for years in our community about the need for sidewalks, but nothing ever seemed to develop. Following the accident my church hosted meetings about the need for safer ways for pedestrians to walk through the community and to cross the street to our church where we hosted many events for the community.

I went to City Hall and met with members of the City Council as I had done before to encourage them to prioritize the safety of our community's children and families.

During Thanksgiving Break my family and I had just enough time to swing by and visit our old neighborhood.

My gift this holiday season was to see a young family walking safely along the new sidewalk I and my church had a hand in creating for the safety of all God's children.

As people of faith we are invited to always respond to tragedy with action. What would our world look like if every church cared so lovingly for it neighbors? If we too sat at the side of the road and were friends to all people...

Kids can now walk safely to the park from the apartments.

They built a guardrail to protect families walking to the church or the corner store or the park from traffic.

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