Tonight was our first prayer walk in downtown Greensboro.  We started at Scuppernong Books, a great new bookstore in the 300 block of S. Elm  St.   It was a beautiful spring night, a  great night for walking . Jim, one of our group, shared that he was there because his grandfather had  turned his life around at a downtown mission run years ago by the Salvation Army.  We  started  out in a prayer of thanksgiving to the God who makes that sort of saving grace possible.

As we strolled along Elm Street going south, we noticed that during a slow stroll, you see a lot more than you do when you’re purposefully going somewhere.   We noticed all the new commerce downtown—restaurants, artists’ spaces, bakeries . Kim Priddy took home some Cheesecake by Alex, which you must sample if you haven’t already!  ( I am partial to the Key Lime cheesecake- yum…)    We stopped by the new Community Theatre of Greensboro “yellow brick road”, chic new salons, antique stores, and coffee shops.  We stood and had conversations about the excitement our congregation is feeling about the possibilities of a downtown presence for new collaborations and ministry— to downtown workers, to young people who are drawn to downtown, and also to the marginalized in our midst.    And yes, we talked about the challenges— how to be a church that ministers to all socioeconomic groups and yet remains a good neighbor to the businesses downtown, wondering how we’ll define the vision broadly enough to allow for expansive thinking, yet narrowly enough to give real purpose and shape to it, and what the financing will look like.   We talked about hopes and fears.   As our walk drew to a close, Jim Lutzweiler gave us the quote of the evening, taken from Tim Kizziar:

“Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”

You are invited to join us next week— some of us will meet at 6 pm to eat dinner at Mellow Mushroom, then we’ll meet outside at 7 pm to go on another prayer walk.   Come join the conversation!   Email me to let me know if you want to come eat dinner, but feel free to just show up outside Mellow Mushroom if you only want to come for the walk.   And in the meantime, please seek God’s guidance for our church’s mission through your own prayers and go experience downtown for yourself.

Laura Lomax

looking north on Elm street in Greensboro at Natty Greene's

looking north on Elm street in Greensboro