Neighboring and Justice
Action at Reservoir
One of Reservoir’s core values is action. Our love for Jesus compels us to seek justice, show compassion, work for reconciliation, and hope for transformation in joyful engagement with the world. We think you’ll find big and small examples of this action all around our community, and we invite you to join in the engagement. At Reservoir, we choose to engage in the world mainly in two ways: by being a good neighbor—building relationships with our neighbors without agenda, and by working for justice—engaging on behalf of human dignity the way we think Jesus would.
Our church has a long legacy of building relationships with the people who live and work in our neighborhood, and we continue to build sustainable and mutually-edifying partnerships with individuals and organizations throughout the City of Cambridge. We are widely recognized as a church that loves our neighbors, and we partner with the public schools, the police, and our neighbors to sponsor events and meet needs in North Cambridge.
Here is the shape some of that neighboring has taken:
- Soccer Nights: In the United States, soccer has a diversity problem. For a lot of folks, equipment and membership in soccer clubs is cost prohibitive. All around the country, lower income students and students of color get pushed out of sports, including soccer. In general, enrichment opportunities are limited to privileged kids, while lower income kids miss out.For around 10 years, we’ve run a free, week long evening soccer camp that promotes athletic skill, leadership development, and citywide unity. Each summer for one week, around 250 kids, their families, and 70-100 volunteers gather for a neighborhood party where dozens of languages and nations of origin are represented. Our camp has been replicated in 10-15 other communities in Greater Boston and beyond. We need volunteer help to make it happen. If you’d like to help in the areas of coaching, registration, logistics, hospitality, care of 3-5 year olds, or photography, let us know!
- 2020 Soccer Nights Goes Virtual: This year, we’re putting together Soccer Nights Care Packages while SN goes virtual due to the Covid-19 outbreak.We are buying soccer balls for each kid – join in by watching our fun fundraising video and then donating HERE! We’ll also need your help putting the packages together the week of June 14th. Mark your calendars to volunteer. And consider with your Community Group to contribute! Details will be added as we have them, to our News page!
- People’s Supper/Yes Dinners: After the 2016 U.S. General Election, we were inspired by the People’s Supper to facilitate a series of neighborhood potluck meals. One such supper at the home of one of our pastors, Ivy Anthony, was covered in a CBS piece about post-election people’s suppers around the country.In Spring of 2017, we were inspired by Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes and Adventures in Saying Yes by Carl Medearis to have a 6-week sermon series called Adventures in Saying Yes. One outcome was a series of community meals we called “Yes Dinners” in our community that brought relative strangers of diverse background to the same table in conversation and bread-breaking.
- Christian/Muslim Interfaith neighboring: In a world where Christians and Muslims often misunderstand and fear one another, we’re dedicated to bridge building and mutual love and understanding. Together with Muslim community members, Reservoir has helped host women’s teas and an annual interfaith Iftar dinner, and organized refugee support. Reservoir also regularly invites Muslim community leader to speak at Reservoir. Contact us with questions about this neighboring.
We’d love for you to help us neighbor. Keep an eye on our events calendar for opportunities to neighbor with us.
- Fair Trade: We support fair trade, and love providing free fair trade coffee and tea to all our guests at Sunday services. We also serve granola made by refugees in Providence. Right now, we’re in the process of becoming a Fair Trade Congregation through Fair Trade Campaigns. You can contact Lydia Shiu if you’re interested in supporting that by joining a Sunday Welcome Team.
- Greater Boston Interfaith Organization: GBIO works to organize Boston-area communities to fight for social justice while transcending religion, race, class, and other divisions. GBIO is one of our closest partners, and we give to GBIO at our highest level.
- Through partnership with GBIO, we’ve facilitated opportunities for Reservoir community members to get involved in citywide action, helped lobby for criminal justice reform, and provided opportunities for training in organizing, story-telling, and relational meetings.
- In Spring and Summer 2018, Reservoir is participating in GBIO’s House Campaign, with our own “Listening Campaign“. Our community will host house meetings where folks will have the chance to share personal stories of why we’re troubled by public issues of justice. This is an opportunity for our congregation to discover the stories we most want to tell people in power.
- Asha: Asha is an NGO that is transforming lives of the residents of Delhi’s slups. Asha is also one of our closest and favorite partners. Reservoir is the home for U.S. Friends of Asha who are supporting and advocating for Asha’s work. Reservoir gives to Asha at our highest level. Teams of Reservoir members make annual visits to Delhi to learn about and encourage Asha’s work there.
- We regularly host and send volunteers to service opportunities in our city: from distributing Christmas presents to lonely elders in Cambridge, to co-sponsoring gun buyback programs, to supporting the work of our local schools and more. Let us know if you’d like to help.
Reservoir’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) Team
In addition to moving our faith into action in areas of neighboring and justice, we are committed as a church to growing in being a community where all who wish to do so, may find belonging. To that end, we have had a team in place since 2018 – Brian Kang, Michaiah Healy, Ian Jackson, Cara Foster Karim, Tara Deonauth, Michelle Phillips, Sue Rosenkranz, Alex Coston, and Lydia Shiu – to listen and advise our church Board and Staff as well as volunteer leaders. After an all-church survey in March 2020, the Reservoir Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) team shared its findings from approximately 130 survey respondents in October 2020. This report set forth three goals for Reservoir Church to pursue which go hand-in-hand with the church’s ongoing vision. You can read these goals and more here in the REDI Survey Report 2020, with Steve’s introduction.