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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jim Wallis to Montecito Friday Feb 29

The village of Montecito has only 4 established Christian churches. Two years ago we began getting together to figure out what we could do together. That's a big deal for us because we reside in a very wealthy community and all of us have lovely facilities. On the surface we can appear pretty selfish and self-absorbed. What could we do together in Jesus' name to bless the world? What activity go we do collaboratively that would not be self-service or be promoting one of our own denominations? 
Along came World Vision and invited us in to HIV/AIDS care kits to Africa. Long story short: we organized ourselves enough to pack, fill, and ship 1,000 kits. The response from all our our congregations was: It's about time! When can we do this again? So we re-gathered and worked with a local non-profit "People's Self Help Housing" and raised funds for and filled 800 back-to-school back-packs for local children living in subsidized housing. Again, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Our community wants to work together across normally dividing lines. 
Then came the question: "How is what we are doing any different than the good things Rotary and Kiwanis do?" M-4 (that's what we call the gathered 4 churches) recognized we need someone to speak into what's happening here. We needed to find someone who recognizes this bigger movement of the spirit in a community. As a side note, the 4 Covenant churches in Santa Barbara can hardly get together, yet these very different churches eagerly met monthly (with the senior pastors/priest) for prayer, lunch and planning. 
That's when we discovered Jim Wallis' new book The Great Awakening that tracks exactly what is happening in our community in other communities around the country. Jim was in San Diego and was willing to fly up to Santa Barbara and meet with us all at Westmont College of Friday night February 29th at 7:00 pm. There are still free tickets available at all 4 churches (and maybe some at the door). 

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