Reason #24: Creating a space of radical inclusion

Categories:Projects
Rob Vander Giessen-Reitsma

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Reason #24: An all-ages arts venue will provide space of radical inclusion, open to any and every member of our community.
One of the things we’ve noticed since we opened a fair trade store in downtown Three Rivers is that there are a lot of people in our town who just need a place to sit down. With limitations caused by mental illness or addiction (usually past), “the walkers,” as we call them, walk the city every day. They have no money to spend, but like anyone, they need a kind word, a cup of coffee, a place to warm up or find shelter from the rain.
If you look around, the walkers aren’t the only one looking for a place to belong. There are kids who have a hard time fitting in at school or at home. There are adults who are looking for meaningful places to serve the community and find companionship. There are senior citizens who have a lot to give, but can’t make it very far from home on their own. Our hope is that the school can be a place where all people, regardless of their limitations or quirks, can discover a place where they are greeted and appreciated for who they are as beloved children of God. We don’t harbor any utopian illusions about everybody “just getting along”–we know such radical inclusion will be difficult. But we believe that conflict is a worthwhile risk on the path to creating a community of embrace beyond just the usual suspects.