| Program: || First Gethsemane/Crescent Hill Reconciliation Project, Louisville, KY |
| Contact(s): || Dr. T. Vaughn Walker and Dr. Ronald Sisk, Directors: (502) 635-7906 |
| Purpose: || To build long-term relationships, mutual ministry opportunities, fellowship, growth, insight and community outreach while advancing the Christian cause |
In 1997, two churches in the Louisville area, First Gethsemane and Crescent Hill, wanted to plan long-range activities that would bridge the two Christian congregations, one primarily African American and the other primarily Caucasian. Their discussions resulted in the creation of the Reconciliation Project, whose primary goal is racial reconciliation. The other goals of the project are appreciation, sensitivity and education of racial and cultural differences. The planners of the project stressed the collaborative nature of the project by bringing members of both congregations together to discuss future activities.
The First Gethsemane/Crescent Hill Reconciliation Project involves 15-20 people and the pastor from each congregation, who meet at least once every two months. The groups meet for team-relationship building and to plan activities for the congregations and the community. One of the activities of the project is the Christmas Fellowship program, which brings together children from the largest public housing community to receive gifts and participate in a Christmas party hosted by First Gethsemane and Crescent Hill. Gifts for the children were donated by local companies, businesses, groceries stores and community residents. Invitations were sent to children throughout the community. Children whose parents sent in RSVPs were then picked to participate in the Christmas party. People from both congregations teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to build a house for a low-income family. Money for the project was donated by the community in cooperation with the family, who intends to buy the house at cost when it is finished.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
Over 2,000 people from both congregations, as well as the general public, benefit from the Reconciliation Project's activities. The Christmas Fellowship involved more than 125 volunteers from both congregations and served the first 500 responses sent in by mail. There have been more than 150 volunteers from both congregations involved with the housing building project. In the near future, the two congregations plan to write a covenant to establish their mission together.