The "New" Montrose

I went to a local coffee shop to meet a newcomer last week and I sat near the door.  Two stylish Anglo women walked into the shop bewildered.  “Common Bond is across the street,” the waitress from behind the counter informed them.  Shyly they ducked out.  “They are the new Montrose,” the proprietor said, “We are the old.”

I knew what she meant.  All around the church’s neighborhood homes are being torn down and scraped for the erection of upscale town homes.  Tenants are displaced and rents are rising.  In meeting with city officials as we do research for our master planning process, their young staffers share that they live in Montrose, but aren’t sure how much longer they will be able to do so.

And yet, the development brings benefits.  New fancy restaurants and stores are sprouting up.  The city is investing more money in streetscapes through TIRZ and other inducements.  The gap between the haves and have nots is becoming more apparent as the socioeconomic diversity shrinks. 

A member of the neighborhood chronicled her experience with development recently in Salon.com.  You may read it here.  

Churches are important corporate citizens in neighborhoods.  Along with schools we anchor the values and histories of communities.  One of the calls to St. Stephen’s by God and our neighbors is to create a space for discernment.  What are our values now?  How do we tend to the poor?  Whose interests are served?

In the new year our community will be taking up these challenges as we respond to Christ’s call to love and serve our neighbors.