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We Invite YOU to join us on the Riverside Collaborative!

Written by Ellen Weber

Screenshot of google maps image of Ellen's street growing up with houses on each side of the road.
A google map screenshot of Ellen’s street growing up.

Growing up in my Highland Park neighborhood in Saint Paul, we knew our neighbors. We knew which grass to not ride our bike on, which house had the best candy, which yard had the best hide & seek spots. We knew who to go to if we wanted to learn how to knit, which driveway we could build our chalk city in, and who gave out the best Halloween candy (It was the nuns. They loved to give out full-sized candy bars.) It was a neighborhood where I felt alive, nourished, cared for and connected. Us kids, resourced each other. We welcomed each other with open arms and ran up and down the block until the street lights came on and we had to head home. 

Each of us had gifts and talents and we knew that together we could accomplish anything. We ran a neighborhood carnival, a lemonade stand where we earned over $100, put on a dance show for our families, had a group that learned how to knit together, and played a lot of capture the flag with the whole block. It was a neighborhood that felt alive. 

I cherish those memories and am filled with joy when I run into one of my former neighbors back in the neighborhood or out around town. It was that feeling of being connected with people who knew me and my heart. Even in the midst of conflict or hard times, we kids supported each other and worked things out together. 

That feeling of connectedness and being in community with others around me  continues to be important in the work that I am a part of personally and professionally. The importance of learning in community with others where everyone is a teacher and a learner. This continues to be true when it comes to the work of being the public church in the neighborhood.

Over the past few years of gathering folks together to be in learning communities together, we have learned the importance of relationships when it comes to this work of being a vital neighbor. That just like in my own neighborhood, we can resource and support each other. 

Thanks to a Lilly Foundation grant and thanks to modern technology, we have been able to create an online community that allows us to stay in relationship with those that are passionate about being the public church in the neighborhood whether you have worked with us before or not! The online community, called the Riverside Collaborative lives on the Circle platform. It is a place to connect with folks from around the country who care about neighborhoods. It is a place where we can encourage each other, challenge each other, ask questions and share celebrations and laments. It is a place where no matter where you live you can be supported, cared for and where we can cheer you on as you become the public church in the neighborhood. 

This past fall we opened up the community to anyone that would like to join and we would like to invite YOU to join us as well. If you are someone who is passionate about being the church in the neighborhood. We can’t wait to meet you! Sign up for free by going to: