I am asking myself two questions: “What do I already like about this space?” and “What would I need in order to say an enthusiastic ‘yes’ to moving our community to one of these spaces?”
Zion Spring Baptist Church
Address: 528 41st St. N, Birmingham, AL 35222
What we already like about this space:
- Adjacent to our current neighborhood, and the neighbors with whom I’ve build a nearly decade long relationship
- Close enough to the breakfast ministry that we could use it for storage space for ministry
- I’m friends with Rev. Adam Mixon; potential for a lot of partnership, shared preaching and other ministries
- Plenty of space for worship, atrium, some officing, kitchen, etc.
- Great opportunity for multicultural ministry and to learn from a historically Black congregation
- Something feels right about receiving hospitality from a church of color.
What might we need to enthusiastically say yes:
- A vision for how we would remain connected to our neighbors in a building that can feel “closed” (there’s no good way to look out from the church)
- A commitment on Zion Springs’ part to find ways to develop a friendship and partnership (porch times, picnic, etc.)
- More outdoor space would be nice
- An honest conversation with our Abbey community about safety; reminding ourselves that safety, outdoor space, and train-free roads are benefits of privilege.
Other thoughts: Zion Spring would be an easy place to house us temporarily, for example, over the summer.
Grace Episcopal Church, Woodlawn
Address: 5712 1st Ave. N, Birmingham, AL 35212
What we already like:
- Plenty of space for worship, atrium, storage, officing, etc
- Not Avondale, but we share many of our current breakfast guests with Community Kitchens and the warming station.
- This would likely be a permanent location – the building ain’t going anywhere, and it’s owned by the Episcopal diocese of Alabama.
- Depending on who Grace calls as rector, there’s opportunity for shared lay and ordained leadership and clergy, which increases our long term resilience if Katie and/or Rick get raptured.
What we might need to enthusiastically say yes:
- The ability to transform our worship space without reproach… “Abbey-fy” that parish hall
- Eventually, the opportunity to share in creativity around the 55th place thrift shop.
- Opportunities to deepen our relationship with the folks at Grace (a commitment from them to “porch time” and other practices)
- A covenant of mutual partnership, not Grace “helping” The Abbey or even vice versa.
East Village Arts
What we already like:
- It “feels” like The Abbey; earthy, scrappy, artistic!
- Nice space for worship with moveable pews
- We could rent a “shed” for atrium and storage space
- Potential to develop relationships with artists and others on the ground in East Lake who have a similar vision for open space and community
What might need to enthusiastically say yes:
- A plan for engagement with new neighbors and a new neighborhood (including inviting folks to church, nurturing friendships outside the church, and outreach) that doesn’t center around me… in a new neighborhood that’s a good hike from my house, I know I can’t be the “boots on the ground” (which is okay!)
- An honest statement from our worshiping community about how you perceive your relationship to the Avondale breakfast ministry, knowing that locating at EVA for the long term would …..
- A conversation with the wider Abbey community about the extra driving distance to EVA.
Help Us Choose the New Abbey Home
Please let us know what your first, second, and third choices are out of the possible locations for The Abbey’s new temporary home. We expect to stay in the new location until the Advent season. We will be gathering feedback through June 1.