In our life together at Blacknall, we have added a phrase to our shared glossary of terms: “Deep Common Journey.” A Deep Common Journey is a partnership that we have entered into with a partner organization in mission. It expresses the hope that we would share together as a congregation in a transformative relationship in mission with our partners. At present, we have entered into a deep common journey partnership with several organizations: Reality Ministries, Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network, International Students, Inc. and most recently, the Congo Initiative. See below for more detailed information on each of these ministries.
Reality Ministries is a community-based non-profit grounded in the mission of “living into the loving presence and life-changing Reality of Jesus Christ.” We hope to be a witness in Durham of God’s kingdom, where there are no margins, and where we discover who we truly are in Christ.
“Real Friends,” Reality’s flagship program, is catered toward working with teens and adults with developmental disabilities. Specifically, we create opportunities for teens and adults with and without developmental disabilities to experience kinship and growth together. We are not trying to minister to our participants “from above;” rather, we are sharing in Christ with one another—everyone serving and receiving in particular ways.
As a reflection of our mission, all our gatherings bring together people with and without disabilities in roughly equal numbers. We have evening programs on Tuesdays and daytime programs throughout the week. One of these programs, Pass the Peas, is hosted and facilitated by Blacknall and its small groups! Pass the Peas is a beautiful evening with a family-style meal, a service project, small group discussion, and music worship. Contact Noreen Naiman to help at Pass the Peas.
We celebrate the amazing number of Blacknall members who volunteer with us! If you are not very familiar with Reality Ministries, Pass the Peas is a great way to get a first glimpse. Often, a small group will all serve together, but even if you are not in a small group, you are welcome to help. For more information, contact David Sittser, Reality’s volunteer coordinator and a Blacknallite.
Interfaith Hospitality Network
Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network provides temporary housing and assistance to homeless families. The ministry assists up to three families at a time who eat dinner and sleep at participating local churches over the course of three months, to give them time to transition to permanent housing. Each church serves as a host for a week at a time. IHN seeks volunteers to prepare and serve evening meals; eat with families; and stay overnight at the church with another volunteer and the participating families. We need 8-10 volunteers each evening we host.
Contact: Anne Paulson and Kris Barman
International Students, Inc.
International Students, Inc. (ISI) exists to share Christ’s love with international college students. ISI at Duke hosts monthly “Saturday Suppers” where dozens of international students gather to share a meal and conversation with others adjusting to this new cultural experience. At the beginning of the academic year, Blacknall families often provide airport transportation for newly arrived international students and their families to help ease transition to the United States.
Contact: Scott Hawkins and Dan Kronstad
Congo Initiative’s vision is “to train and develop strong, indigenous Christian leaders to transform their communities and their nation of the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC].” CI addresses a critical lack of moral leadership in the DRC by equipping Christians as agents of transformation for the sake of the Gospel. In this new partnership, interested Blacknall members gather on the second Sunday of each month to pray together. Be a part of the new thing God is doing in the DRC by connecting in one of the following ways:
Congregational Education Team | Contact: Miles Travis
This team will provide opportunities for the church to become more familiar with the history, culture and current affairs of Congo and its region. These activities will raise awareness of the various ways God is working in Central Africa generally and Blacknall’s partnership with UCBC specifically.
Congregational Integration Team | Contact: Julie Bryce
Whatever your niche at Blacknall, you are invited to help us weave Congo awareness into the activities and efforts we already do. Help us consider ways we can pray for, bless, inform, consider, or otherwise recognize our Congo Initiative Partnership in the things we do every season as part of our church life. We are seeking bridge-builders!
Christian Bilingual University of Congo (UCBC) Curricular Needs Team | Contact: Korah Wiley
The primary focus of this team is to discover and share the gifts, talents, and resources of the individuals at UCBC and Blacknall with regards to higher education. Through learning about the curriculum, initiatives, and facility needs at UCBC, as well as its achievements, we hope to gain insight into the ways in which UCBC and Blacknall may more faithfully engage their respective communities.
Prayer Team | Contact: Kim Dunderdale & Martha Carlough
Join with others on the second Sunday of every month at 6:30 p.m. in the Parlor to pray together for this partnership. We deeply believe that prayer not only empowers and informs our partnership with Congo Initiative, but that it is also how God works in and through us!