Redeemer Community Partnership is a nonprofit, Christian community development corporation that builds better neighborhoods in South Los Angeles by creating safe, healthy, opportunity-rich communities where children, youth and their families thrive.
Preparations are already well underway for this year's Harvest Carnival. Members of our church and community are coming together as we have in the past to host a huge block party on Raymond Avenue, where hundreds of neighbors can come together on Halloween night to celebrate not darkness or death, but light. Our neighborhood is not a safe place to walk around at night, and families who want to trick-or-treat often have to drive to wealthier areas to do so. More importantly, as we bring in bright lights and bring families out into the street, we are creating a safe space for our community, declaring that at least for one night, neighbors can come together safely.
Although we take many precautions, we cannot actually create a safe space on our own. Last year we planned to hold the carnival on Raymond Ave., but a week before the event, there was a shooting just around the corner. Because the young men involved lived in the area, retaliation was a very real possibility. The carnival was moved a few streets down to Brighton Avenue, and took place without incident, but this reminded us how fragile our sense of safety can be.
Each Sunday at church we have a testimony time when people can stand up and share what they have seen God doing during the past week. Yesterday several people shared amazing stories about real, tangible ways that prayers have been answered and lives have been changed. Two people also shared about two different shootings that occurred in the last week. I was struck by what sometimes appears to be a connection--as spiritual headway is made, violence often seems to intensify as well.
For all of these reasons, it is vital that we pray intensely for the Harvest Carnival. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the . . .spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." As we plan this year's event in the midst of a particularly violent season here in South Los Angeles, would you commit to interceding especially for the Harvest Carnival this month?
Please pray above all for safety and for peace, for an end to this season of violence. We are also praying that God would prepare people spiritually to meet our church at the carnival. In this time of logistical preparations, we are also asking that he would bring many of our neighbors to volunteer, and help us to build relationships as we serve together. Check back for more updates as we get closer to the big day!