One of the most important parts of my job as a Community Coordinator is to get to know who is already on the ground in the ANI neighborhoods. There would be no way for a single person to have deep relationships with all of the residents of five substantial neighborhoods, so it is important to find and collaborate with those who are already well connected and have a feel for the pulse of the neighborhood. In the Stevenson neighborhood, I am blessed to know several people who fit this bill very well. They are known as the Allelon Community, and I get to call them friends. In 2009, four Abilene Christian University students moved into a home on Cockerell Drive. Though some of the group has moved away during the years that have followed, others have joined their group and have moved into the neighborhood.
Through weekly events, such as meals that are open to their neighbors or yearly Christmas parties and Vacation Bible Schools, the Allelon Community has become a part of the Stevenson neighborhood. Over the course of several years, they have patiently listened to their neighbors, formed relationships, and learned to love their little part of the world better.
I have already had the opportunity to work with this group on multiple occasions. For instance, some of the Allelon folks asked me to help lead their first annual VBS. I was thrilled to be able to help out friends and to get to know the Stevenson neighborhood even better. Additionally, I’ve been able to join in smaller events at Stevenson park and at their homes. One of their members, Wes, Flach, has even joined with me to walk in the neighborhood each week with the goal of praying for the neighborhood and introducing me to residents.
Within a few short months, I have been able to cultivate relationships with the Allelon community as well as meet local neighbors in a non-threatening way. As someone who meets people as a major part of my job, I can attest that being introduced by a friend is far more effective than introducing myself.
The Allelon folks have been incredible partners, and they make my job much easier and more effective. I’m excited to work with them going forward, and to continue to share updates as to what is happening in Stevenson!