Friendswood Friends Church was the site of Cultivate Houston on May 2. Right at 100 people packed into a room to hear, see, learn and experience the necessary steps of everyday peacemaking. As we listened to the presentations (which were fantastic!) and then interacted across the tables (which was fun!) our minds were stretched to reimagine our neighborhoods as incubators for community building and peacemaking. Cultivate Houston brought together more than a dozen churches and organizations who shared the vision of everyday peacemaking. It was a joy to connect with others who wanted to learn and dream together about generating shalom in our neighborhoods.
At the follow-up meeting for members of our church several people told stories about how Cultivate had affected them. One member talked about how he had known his neighbor across the street for years, but because of what he’d learned at Cultivate, he’d offered to mow his neighbor’s lawn while the neighbor was on vacation. Another said Cultivate had given her the courage to simply introduce herself to her neighbors and invite them to dinner. Yet another said, “This experience has deconstructed the assumptions I’ve made about people, things and places.” Our church is changing and learning to see itself as a group of people who are sent into our communities to love others and make peace. What else could we hope for? One 50 year old summed it up best: “Cultivate was not just another conference for me. It has stayed with me. It has changed the way I think. It has changed the dynamic of my life.”