On Saturday, March 26, 2022, St. Paul’s, Yuma hosted a block party as part of the Year of Evangelism. In the preceding two months, they began neighborhood canvassing efforts, both in the neighborhood of the church and in the neighborhoods of parishioners. Each parishioner had a role of reaching a minimum of one person in their own neighborhood with an invitation.
The event was attended by 175 people. The bounce house created allure for the children and people from many different backgrounds stopped by for a meal and a chance to mingle with neighbors. A few even decided to give St. Paul’s a visit on the following Sunday.
Neighborhood evangelism begins with having a desire to meet people in your own backyard. We offered nothing heavy-handed – no sales pitch, just genuine people from St. Paul’s offering a time of fun and camaraderie. The interactions in the neighborhoods are key. Many expect door-to-door invitations to be offensive or threatening. We simply came out to invite people to get to know us and have a little fun. Jesus is presented in the smiles and caring of church folks who simply love our neighbors.
Fr. Paul Gambling said, “It was an enjoyable event that brought together a lot of community, people from outside our congregation, and helped us to know our community better. It was encouraging, especially the bouncy castle.”
A committee has been formed to refine the event into an annual or semi-annual event. After learning what went well and what could be improved, plans are being made for the next block party. Perhaps it might even become a local neighborhood tradition.
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