Churches as Neighborhood
The Churches as Neighborhood (CaN) Centers idea is simple: open up buildings (and hearts) that were closed most of the week. Open up so that nearby neighbors can be safe, loved, mentored, and empowered. This happens through a variety of after-school, family and neighborhood partnerships. Churches and neighborhoods alike are transformed when congregations practice what they preach through faithful servanthood.
Several years ago, the Renaissance in Salem’s toughest neighborhood began. That’s when a tiny church in Salem’s highest-crime area opened a huge community center. This led to robust partnerships with neighbors, nearby schools, the City of Salem, Marion County, youth agencies, businesses and law enforcement.
By opening its doors, Capital Park Wesleyan Church sparked a miraculous turnaround. Crime came down 25%, the parks are clean again, home ownership is up, children are safer, and families are healthier. Today, not only is this one neighborhood being transformed, but our whole city is being impacted by faith in action.
Inspired by the Capital Park story, other churches are opening their buildings to their neighborhoods. They are engaging in strong collaborations and offering their facilities to neighbors in a variety of innovative and asset-building programs. Likewise, public agencies and the social-service system have been inspired to seek partnerships with the Faith Community! Now, more neighborhoods are being revitalized, and thousands of kids and families are benefiting.
- After-School Programs and Homework Club.
- GED diplomas and English classes.
- Literacy, tutoring, and other academic supports.
- Nutrition, parenting, financial, and other adult educations programs
- Community events, block parties, community gardens, and cultural celebrations.
- Basketball, soccer, gym games, team sports and other physical activities.
- Distribution of food, clothing, and school supplies.
- Job training and micro-enterprise development.
Our role at Salem Leadership Foundation is to help churches and people of faith rediscover the “Sacred Art of Servanthood.” Too many times, churches simply send food or a blanket to some nameless person in need. Ours is not a call to mere charity—it is a call to Christ-like relationship with the stranger, the broken, the hurting. Inspired by God’s redemptive love, we seek the renewal of both people and place; of both hearts and systems.
To give time or resources to a CaN Center in your neighborhood, please contact the SLF office at (503) 315-8924, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The CaN Centers churches and community partners meet first Wednesdays (11:30-1 pm) at various sites throughout Salem-Keizer. All are welcome to come learn about serving kids, families and neighborhoods. Click here for our calendar of meetings. Click here to join our Facebook Group.
Calvary Chapel of Salem
Church on the Hill (North)
Capital Park Wesleyan
Christian Center (now Family Life Church)
Emmaus Community Church
First Free Methodist Church
Grace Baptist Church
Grace Community Church
Holy Cross Lutheran
Morningside United Methodist Church
New Harvest Church
New Hope Foursquare
Our Savior’s Lutheran
Salem Alliance Church
Salem Mennonite Church
St. Edward Catholic
Trinity Covenant Church
West Salem Foursquare