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All About Us Links

Welcome OU Tulsa Graduate Social Work students and also the students from Phillips Theological Seminary who will be working with us or studying us this semester, and welcome all as we start several important community development projects this year. A pivotal year for us about to start thanks to received donations for two major projects, one at the gardenpark and one at the community center, plus we are waiting word on a big low income housing initiative we are hoping to take lead on, and we will be increasing our engagement with area schools during this upcoming year. Only with your support of our all volunteer grassroots neighbors helping the neighborhood projects.

Learn more about us and share please with others these links below:

  1. 1. The workshop at General Assembly which includes the slideshow and video on our MIracle Among the Ruins area and projects, along with our history and our approach to missional church.

    Text that went along with the workshop this summer. And A quick look at our area link

    3. More background into our response and where it comes from and how it manifests:

    4. Why we are here and needed revealed in Fall study by OU at A Third Place

    5. the link of links that go into depth on our demographics and our projects and our vision and includes my lecture to the Graduate Social Work Convention at OU in Norman.
    This is a post that accumulates various other basic introduction posts about our area of the 74126 and 74130 and about our renewal efforts and partnerships and plans and visions within it. The starting point for those who would like to work with us; getting to know us. Caveat: the observations and analysis is mine; obviously others in our area have their own experiences and analysis and visions.
    We always like to begin showing our area and immersing in it in order to understand why we do what we do and how we do it as a response to the world around us; the focus is on building up and growing the neighborhoods primarily, and only building up and growing the organization in order to accomplish the first.

    Our latest breakdown of demographic and ethnographic studies and the OU Turley nutrition survey of residents in our two mile radius:

    An overview of the renewal vision: called The Four Directions in our area:

    A post on health responses to the life time expectancy disparity in our zipcode:

    Based on a presentation given at OU Tulsa by members of a team from there after study time at Dartmouth.

    A post on educational justice and community abandonment and the proposal to focus program changes at McLain School and its feeder schools:

    The comprehensive lecture given at OU on our history, our responses, our vision:

    6. Some recent sermons that update our work The Spirituality of Missional Messiness, how to stay centered and hopeful in places of despair. The missional call to move beyond our own concerns of institutional survival; why church is changing. The look at why progressives need to become missional, and the missional church needs progressives.

SOS (summer of service) for your urgent support: The Welcome Table Report: 4 days left to support our Northside Miracle Among the Ruins Faithify projects

The Welcome Table August 2014 Report
What a SOS, Summer of Service, it has been so far here at The Welcome Table on the northside of Tulsa. You can experience it in the links below, and particularly help respond to our SOS this week by supporting with a pledge our two all or nothing Miracle Among The Ruins projects for here, crowdsourcing on Faithify for a Kitchen Greenhouse at our community gardenpark and orchard here in the 74126, more important than ever now that the Gateway Grocery has closed adding more abandonment to our healthy food desert, and also the remodeling of a Community Room for both local groups here and for those visiting and serving with us. We have a donor who will match all new or increased pledges but we need to act soon. Details below.  Also see at the very bottom for what the real miracle is here.
Start by going to the new Slideshow below, then at the links for the Faithify projects you can also see the new video about our work and ministry here. Then see our plans for the building that burned down on our site and how to support the new garden plans by the free food store. Speaking of the corner store, we just finished distributing six tons of food in one hour here this past Friday thanks to some 40 neighbors who showed up to help hand out the food to other neighbors. The next day we gave out more during one of our regular food community days. We also had meals at the Center or the Park on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Just in one weekend we fed 160 families, representing some 750 individuals. We haven't done it alone; we have been hosting two youth groups both from the Kansas City area, for example, one from a United Methodist church and one from a Unitarian Universalist church; we have had a guest minister staying with us and more planned, and we have a project underway with Eagle Scouts, and we have partnered twice this summer with the Cherry Street Farmers Market and Restore Hope Ministries to bring fresh vegetables to our folks.  
1. View our Miracle Among The Ruins Slideshow; see the statistics on hunger and food insecurity, images of decay, and images of resistance and growing community spirit and strength and support where others walk away and pretend we don’t exist.
2. See our new video and Donate and Share and help us as we only have four days left to raise our total needed of $6,000 to build a GreenHouse Kitchen in our community gardenpark and orchard where the row of abandoned houses and property damage and illegal dumping once stood out in our community, where we now have community events and help people eat healthy food, but where we need a Greenhouse Kitchen in order to grow food year round and help people learn to cook it; they won’t learn to grow it if they don’t know how, on limited budgets and with little kitchen equipment, how to cook healthy. That is only 60 people donating an average $100 to make this happen; 60 people from around the world; if you can donate more than $100 please do so because many people will only be able to pledge less than that. You can pledge often. Your pledges will not come out of your bank account unless we raise the full amount.
3. Community Room. This includes our new video too. Donate and Share and help us as we only have four days left to raise $7,500 to remodel, renovate and put into year round use our biggest south building of our abandoned church building we bought and put into use for the community center and free food store. We need to make it accessible and usable not only for our neighborhoods but also for those who come in to learn and serve with us, whether they are local students we work with or groups from around the country and world. That is only 75 people giving an average $100; see above.
Surely, we can reach up to 135 people, or fewer if as we hope people will give to both our needed projects, who will give an average of $100; but it will take all of your help to help us reach those people. So little goes such a long way in impoverished areas like ours. That is the way, though, that amazing things happen. It is why we call what we do Miracle Among the Ruins. Even though we are all volunteer, with all the ups and downs of life here, all the setbacks, still we have a good track record and history of transforming the spirit of despair to hope, from isolated lives to community engagement.
4. Here is the final major project this summer: we were hoping enough people would vote for us that we would make the finals for one of the grants in order to clear out the rubble of our burned building by the community center, and to build a wheelchair accessible community garden and social space with deck right there by our free cornerstore food pantry to connect with the 1000 people we help feed monthly; another blight to beauty and “third place” space. We didn’t make the cut, but we are still committed to doing the project, even if it takes longer to do it. Your special donation, or connections of construction people willing to donate some work for us would make this miracle and dream come true too. You can donate Or sending a check to A Third Place at 5920 N. Owasso Ave. Turley, OK 74126.

This Thursday with a free lunch at noon we will hold an important community organizing meeting to get updates on all the projects underway in our area and how to support them and our neighbors. Here at The Welcome Table, 5920 N. Owasso Ave. From fire dept to local schools to upcoming events at the county park to the Heritage Day lunch in September to getting updates from county and state officials about the needs of our area and several other ongoing blight to beauty areas here come and connect. See our coming events below for more information.
Also we are selling special missional t-shirts here for the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship: Love The Hell Out Of This World, God Is Love, and from a slogan from some of the early supporters of universal salvation we have Death and Glory tshirts with that motto, a skull, and the off centered cross on it. You can see all three and how to order from us by going to

Here is a link to recent talks and sermons I have given about various aspects of our work here: The Spirituality of Missional Messiness, how to stay centered and hopeful in places of despair. The missional call to move beyond our own concerns of institutional survival; why church is changing. The look at why progressives need to become missional, and the missional church needs progressives.
The notes on the workshop I led along with three other ministers who have been here to our ministry on the northside during the General Assembly of the UUA in Providence, RI this summer.

Coming Events, including our upcoming worship gatherings:
Come Join Us…..
Free Meals on Saturdayweather permitting, Welcome Table Community GardenPark and Orchard, 6005 N. Johnstown Ave. Help The Garden and Eat Together. 9 am Breakfast Aug. 9, 16, 23, 30. Call918-346-3475 for Bonnie Ashing, M.D. for more information.  
Food & Community Daysat 10 am to Noon, Wed. Aug. 13Sat. Aug. 16,Wed. Aug. 20Sat. Aug. 23Wed. Aug. 27. Or by appt. once a month visits. Welcome Table Center, 5920 N. Owasso Ave. serving the 74126, 74130, 74073. Call Rev. Ron Robinson, 918-691-3223 for more information.
Neighborhood PlanningThurs. Aug. 7, Noon Free Lunch Meeting at the Welcome Table Center. Find out what issues we are working on to improve the quality of life here in the McLain/Turley area, or bring your ideas.
Puppy PaloozaSat. Aug. 9, 11 am to 3 pm, O’Brien Park, 6147 N. Birmingham. Food. Dog Training. Pet Adoption. Rescue Agencies. Pooch/Human Swim. Agility Control. On-Site Vet. 
Community BreakfastSat. Aug. 9, 7 to 10 am, $5 with Kids 10 and under free, Odd Fellows Lodge, 6227 N. Quincy Ave.
Turley/McLain Area Seniors for those 55 and over and their families in 74126 and 74130: Meet Second Wednesdays (Aug. 1310:30 amBingo and Noon Lunch, Turley United Methodist Church, 6050 N. Johnstown Ave. and On Third Wednesdays (Aug. 20), 12:30 pm Lunch and Field Trip Planning at The Welcome Table Center. 
Legislative Forum/Community IssuesSat. Aug. 16, 10 am Rudisill Library, Pine & Hartford Ave.
Turley Area Community Association meeting and Town Hall, Tues. Aug. 26, 7 pm. The Welcome Table Center.
12 Step Recovery Group, each Saturday 6 pm at the Welcome Table Center.
Turley Fire and Rescue Dept meetings, eachThursday 7 pm 6404 N. Peoria.
Turley Water Dept.meetings, last working day of each month, Aug. 29, 8:30 am6108 N. Peoria Ave.
Welcome Table Communityworship: Sunday Aug. 10, 5 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church for Taize service, 5th and S. Cincinnati Ave. (leave the Welcome Table carpool at 4:30 pm) with meal following; note different time for this week: Saturday, Aug. 16 5 pm at The Welcome Table Center (we are exploring going to a special monthly missional Ancient Worship For Contemporary Times event); Sunday, Aug. 24 5 pm at The Welcome Table Center and meal gatherings: see or call Rev. Ron Robinson at918-691-3223
Growing Healthy Lives and Neighborhoods on the Northside Through Small Acts of Justice Done With Great Love.
A Third Place Foundation 918-691-3223 or 918-794-4637

Looking ahead: Special Turley and NorthSide Heritage Day Lunch at Noon at The Wecome Table Center on Sat. Sept. 20 following a tour and talk on the area past, present, and future that will begin at the Center at 9 am.
Plan Now for a conference here on Spiritual Practices in a Missional Setting, Friday to SundayMay 29-31 at The Welcome Table.

And finally this is still just a brief report of this summer's work here. We have projects small and large cooking in the community so stay tuned, or better yet, come and see. And please share. There are still many people right around us, in the Tulsa area, and across the nation who are still finding out about this amazing work done by people who are just getting to know one another, by people who are just getting out of prison and being trusted again, by people with illness and sickness of many kinds, and yet all moving forward and beginning again in love. 
Blessings, thanks for all you all have done with us, and more coming soon.

Rev. Ron Robinson
The Welcome Table Missional Community,,
A Third Place Community Foundation
5920 N. Owasso Ave. Turley OK 74126
Executive Director
Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship
Executive Director
Phillips Theological Seminary
director of ministerial formation for uu students and adjunct faculty in practical theology


Our Property Fire, Our Missional Transformation Space Plans in Its Wake

Three years ago our ministry was featured in the cover story of the Unitarian Universalist World Magazine; the artwork was a photograph taken inside the "old parsonage" of the abandoned church we were hoping to buy at the time in order to move our community center, clinic, food store, clothing room, etc. to the much bigger space; we had dreams of using the old parsonage, fixing it up drastically, and letting people stay in it who came to work in our area with us, or maybe using it as a garden center, showing how such houses in our area could be beautified for the neighborhood. We were able to buy the property even though before we closed on the property ownership itself the main building was greatly vandalized for the first time in its 90 year history even though it had been used by squatters for some time. The old parsonage began to be used as a storage area. We had a decision to make right away: work on fixing up the buildings, repairing the damage from the vandalism, and then open to the public, or clean up and get right to serving others in and through our damaged buildings. We, of course, chose the latter approach.

The other night some squatters during the night who were using the old parsonage caught it on fire, intentionally or unintentionally could not be determined though there had been fires off and on in abandoned buildings in our area recently. It burned quickly and thoroughly. Thanks to the effort of our partners, the volunteer fire dept. and the Tulsa Fire Dept and our neighbors the fire did not spread much to our main community center building, the old brick church, though one door was damaged by heat and the fire dept effort.

Now we are in the midst of trying to raise funds to remove the rubble from the old parsonage fire; and we are dreaming of what might come from this event that can help us continue to transform our zipcode which is the lowest life expectancy zipcode and one of the poorest in our Tulsa area. We are envisioning an expanded "third place" outdoors area that would be a free public place of and for community even when our building is closed; we have boosted wifi so it reaches there; we have and will expand outside electrical outlets so people can charge their cell phones if their electricity is turned off; we have an outside hydrant that people can use to fill up jugs with our water to help at their homes without running water. We plan to create a wonderful outdoors garden deck area. We have already begun on that side of the building with a permaculture project that will help with flooding and create rain gardens and more outdoor spaces to become more hospitable even when we are open and overflowing indoors.

We need your help to be able to pay to get the remains cleared off and to replace it with the new deck and other amenities. $5,000 is our goal for this particular project.

That photograph of me inside the old parsonage even before we owned it captured the essence of our deep mission to bring a peaceful presence to lives filled with scarcity and anxiety.


A Quick Look at Our Area

Quick Look at the 74126 McLain/Turley Area
46th to 76th St. North
Thank you to all who are living, or have businesses, or who come to work here who are showing the strengths we have and are keeping the community spirit alive despite the statistics and the stories and the struggles listed below.

1.     We die 14 years sooner than in 74114 6 miles away

2.     Rated Second Worse Zipcode in Tulsa for health outcomes: 1 best 5 worst scale, the 74126 is 4.320 and our neighbor 74106 is worst at 4.570. 74130 we serve is 3.950 fifth worst. 74114 is 2.150. Worst health care access rates.

3.     2009 OU and Third Place Foundation nutrition study: 60 percent can’t afford healthy food; 55 percent worry about amount of food they have; 55 percent worry about the amount of food they have; 6 percent use spoiled food; 29 percent adults skip meals.

4.     2013 OU and Third Place Foundation study at our Food Pantry: 52.6 percent high food insecurity; 42.1 percent very high food insecurity, experiencing hunger symptoms when surveyed; 68.4 percent of households have at least one member with nutrition-related chronic disease; 53 percent depression; 47 percent anxiety; 53 percent high blood pressure; 32 percent high cholesterol; 47 percent obese and 21 percent overweight. Sample demographic at food pantry: 68 percent women, 42 percent black, 36 percent white, 63 percent under $10,000 annual household income; 5 percent employed, 47.4 percent disabled, 42 percent less than high school education and 16 percent high school education.

5.     Historical Abandonment: current 40 percent of vacant homes are abandoned, not for sale or rent; McLain Shopping Center, Northridge Shopping Center, Suburban Acres Shopping Center once thriving now virtually abandoned; in 2011, three elementary schools in the zipcode closed (one more in 2012 when a public charter school was started); the post office was closed. One community pool threatened with closure this year. Lack of public transportation options available elsewhere. Gap has grown between neighborhood residents and their elected officials who now serve area some five or more times larger than before.

6.     Roughly 50 percent soon will be under 18 and more than 60 years old. Projection for 2015: 12,590 residents, 73.4 percent African-American, 15.6 percent white, 7.3 percent American Indian and other; 3.5 percent Hispanic. In our service area split between incorporated far north Tulsa and unincorporated Turley, white population in Turley will remain slight majority in 2015 but down to 52 percent. College graduates: 7.6 percent.

7.     Cultural Change, 1967 to 1987: white working class (with professional and business owners living in area as well) changed to predominantly black working class and then to rising underclass. Racism of segregation led to racism of “white flight” (and flight of business owners, professionals, service providers who worked in area but lived elsewhere), and drop in job availability for those who lived here who often have to leave area to get work, and drop of services private and public, and switch from home ownership to rental.

8.     Renewal efforts: A Third Place Community Foundation community center food store and community gardenpark and orchard by The Welcome Table missional community, The Dream Center by Victory Christian Church, Tulsa Health Department North Regional Wellness Center, EduRec by World Won Ministries, Newsome Community Farms, Real Good Food Truck Mobile Grocery, Sarah’s Residential Living, McLain School Foundation, OU Tisdale Clinic (just outside of our area but serves our area), new efforts underway also close by through Crossover Impact and Crossover Bible Church, and ongoing work by remaining schools, parks, churches, Turley Community Association, Turley Fire and Rescue Volunteer Dept, and one civic group, the Turley Odd Fellows Lodge. 


Join the Community at one of these Highlights of Coming Events

Current full list of upcoming events, more to come, hope to see you at one or more of the events:
Please Share.
Sat. April 19 10 am our area legislative forum with public officials and community representatives at Rudisill Library, Pine and Hartford Ave. every third saturday same location same time.
Saturday April 19 Planting Party and Free Breakfast 9 to 11 am, 6005 N. Johnstown Ave. community gardenpark and orchard.
Saturday April 19 10 am to Noon. Free Corner Store Pantry and clothing thrift store, Welcome Table community center, 5920 N. Owasso Ave.
[Easter Sunrise Service of Prayer and Meditation and Music held at the gardenpark and orchard 6:30 to 7:15 am followed by breakfast.]
Tuesday, April 22 1:30 pm arrival for 2 pm monthly food handlers permit class at our North Regional Wellness Center, 56th and MLK Blvd (old Cincinnati Ave.) This new facility in Turley has a basketball court, walking trail, playground facilities and more open to the public on its grounds.
Tuesday, April 22 5 pm Turley Area Litter Cleanup part one, and free supper for volunteers; meet at the Welcome Table community center, get trash bags gloves and bottles of water. Celebrating Earth Day with Keep Oklahoma Beautiful and the Great American Clean-up Event.
Wed. April 23 10 am to Noon at the Free Corner Store Pantry and Clothing Room.
Wed. April 23 1:30 to 4 pm. GardenWork Party at the community garden, hosting volunteers from around Tulsa; and neighborhood cleanup event part two, meet at the park.
Thursday, April 24 6 to 8 pm free cooking demonstration class for healthy eating, our northside regional wellness center on 56th St.
Friday, April 25, 4 pm McLain School Community and Alumni Foundation meeting, 4929 N. Peoria Ave.
Friday, April 25 7 pm Art Gallery Exhibition Opening at northside wellness center by local young people on teen pregnancy prevention, "Flash Focus Event and Reception" $15. support our youth who took these photos reflecting their life.
Saturday, April 26 10 am to Noon Free Corner Store Pantry and Clothing Room.
Saturday, April 26 4 pm free supper and Planting Party at the gardenpark and orchard.
Tuesday, April 29, 7 pm Turley Community Association meeting O'Brien Park Center, 6147 N. Birmingham Ave. monthly every last tuesday.
Wed. April 30, 10 am to Noon Free Corner Store Pantry and Clothing Room.
Thursday, May 1 Free Lunch Noon Public and Partners Planning Meeting for McLain/Turley area, at the community center. come hear about improvement plans, meet partners, bring issues and concerns for planning. this is the planning and working meeting connected to the last tuesday or the month public town hall conversation and meeting.
Saturday, May 3 10 am to Noon Free Corner Store Pantry, and Turley Area litter pickup event part three, Great American Cleanup, and 4 to 6 pm planting party at the gardenpark and orchard, free supper for volunteers.
Monday, May 5 11 am to 1 pm free Cooking For Diabetes class at our northside regional wellness center health department.
Wed. May 7 10 am to Noon Free Corner Store Pantry Day.
Saturday, May 10 7 am to 10 am Community Breakfast at Odd Fellows Lodge, 6227 N. Quincy Ave. $5 for adults and kids under 10 free.
Sat. May 10 9 am free breakfast and planting party at the gardenpark and orchard. Also Turley Area Litter Clean-Up Event, part four. Start at the Park to get bags, water, gloves. meal for volunteers.
Sat. May 10 and Wed. May 14, 10 am to Noon Free Corner Store Pantry and more Day.
Friday, May 16, 10 am to Noon, Mobile Food Pantry visit to the Welcome Table from the Food Bank. giving out five tons of food in one hour. Volunteers report at 10 am. Food Delivery begins at 11 am. You must have ticket with you to receive food. Get tickets during the Corner Store Food Pantry days while tickets last. We do this every few months.
Thursday, May 22, 6 to 8 pm free cooking class for children and youth ages 6 and up with parent or guardian present, "cooking healthy breakfast" at our northside regional wellness center on 56th St.
more to come 


The Three Americas: Events, News, Message

Palm Sunday: Occupying The Abandoned Temples of the American Dream Empire

First, before getting to the Palm Sunday message, it has been an exciting past month or so here in the 74126 area; we have become a center for service learning and missional trips lately. We are gradually becoming a center where people can “come and see” the effects of racism on many ethnic groups, economic injustice and classism, and the evil and suffering that happens when the marketplace is not tempered with the moral imperative, when government and other groups focus on numbers and not on need, on individuals and not on neighborhoods.

Already this year we have hosted groups working with us on Tulsa’s northside from Fayetteville, AR and Oklahoma City and Dallas area and from around the country during the Life On Fire event here, and from many places and schools around the Tulsa area who have not been familiar with our part of town. We just finished hosting three classes of graduate social work students from OU who have been working on research projects with us as well as doing direct help for us. We met a lot of people and made connection at the Tulsa Eco-Fest held near our area at the Tulsa Community College Northeast Campus. This past Sunday I made a presentation on our area and our work to the Adult Forum at Hope Unitarian Church in Tulsa. We were scheduled to host a big contingent from Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity during their conference recently but their schedule had to be changed, and we hope to connect in the future.

Coming up, On Wednesday afternoon, April 23, we will have a big group of volunteers from a Tulsa company coming to work at our gardenpark and orchard on N. Johnstown Ave. And just this weekend at the Global Society for Arts in Health convention held in Houston, a presentation on our area and our work was given and well received and more connections made. On Saturday, August 26, we will host a lunch for the Commission on Appraisal of the Unitarian Universalist Association as they “come to see” and learn about missional church manifestations in a progressive theological spirit.

And still so much to be done; figuring out ways to pay and staff and continue to reach out with our neighbors on projects even as we continue to go deep and grow our relationships and presence; funding the big projects we are nurturing (the closed Cherokee School reopening and repurposing; abandoned and neglected properties and low-rent “relocation” housing possibilities; organizing for justice with the Industrial Areas Foundation) are getting seeds planted but need a boost in effort and partners and money. And we still struggle to stay open month after month, still trying to build up the foundation of supporters who will give at least a nickel or dime a day to help us with the basics of utilities and mortgage which, because we put it all into mission and have not yet started any salaries, means every contribution is going to direct missional work of feeding and clothing people and growing their overall health and community.

We are also trying to get the word out about us better to more people and potential partners this year. If anyone is able to help us produce videos about what we do and why and with whom, please let me know. And we are hoping this year to begin the long delayed work of fixing up our community center and creating social events at the gardenpark and orchard. The more volunteers the more we are able to do. We would love for this year to be the year we get great signs up at the park, and great art at the park and outside the community center, as well as the new outside deck and benches at the community center, the new deck and stage at the gardenpark, and the big 20 foot table at the park.
And, before I print the message below, Here is the list of coming events planned so far for the next few weeks; your chance to connect with us:

Free Breakfast Second, Third, Fourth and any Fifth Saturdays 9 am, weather permitting, Welcome Table Community GardenPark and Orchard, 6005 N. Johnstown Ave. Free Supper, First Saturday 4 pm. Growing your own food is like printing your own money. Get a Free Garden Bed. Just come eat with us and enjoy the gardenpark.
Every Wednesday and Saturday, 10 am to Noon, Free Food and Clothing and More On Community Days, Welcome Table Center, 5920 N. Owasso Ave. serving the 74126, 74130, 74073 zips. Also free books, computer center, art studio.
Community Breakfast Second Saturdays, 7 to 10 am, $5 with Kids 10 and under free, Odd Fellows Lodge, 6227 N. Quincy Ave. 
We just finished our wonderful Community Easter Kids Celebration on Saturday with the local United Methodist Church, 6050 N. Johnstown Ave. including kid gardening at our gardenpark and orchard. It was so good to see the children enjoying an actual hunt for easter eggs and surprises instead of what happens at so many institutional egg hunts which are more like race and grabs as the eggs are just laid out in an open field.
Palm Sunday Worship with communion was held this morning at Turley United Methodist Church, 6050 N. Johnstown Ave. at 10:30 am followed by free lunch afterwards. One of our “rules of life” for our missional community is to eat together as often as possible, at least three times a week.
Wednesday, April 16, 12:30 pm lunch for seniors (55 plus) at our Welcome Table Center followed by trip to Aquarium in Jenks. 
Thursday, April 17, 6:30 pm free dinner and Maundy Thursday communion worship at The Welcome Table Center
Friday, April 18, Good Friday worship at noon with us at All Souls Church, 2952 S. Peoria Ave. and/or Good Friday service 6 pm at Turley United Methodist.
Sat. April 19, 10 am Our Area Public Forum, Rudisill Library, Pine & Hartford Ave.
Easter Sunday, April 20, Sunrise Prayer and Meditation Event, 6:30 to 7 am or so, on top of the hill at The Welcome Table GardenPark and Orchard; come feel the spirit of resurrection and renewal at our miracle among the ruins space,  followed by breakfast at The Welcome Table Center. Worship at 10:30 am at Turley United Methodist Church. Come for any or all. 
Earth Day Tuesday, April 22, Turley Litter Pick-Up and Free Dinner for volunteers who help, 5 pm meet at The Welcome Table Center. 
Turley Community Association, Tuesday April 29, 7 pm O'Brien Park Center, 6147 N. Birmingham Ave.
McLain/Turley Area Planning and Partner Meeting, Thursday, May 1, Noon with Free Lunch, The Welcome Table Center.
Mobile Food Pantry Day, Friday, May 16, volunteers begin at 10 am, food pickup at 11 am, The Welcome Table Center. Get vouchers at Wed. and Sat. community days. We eat lunch together with volunteers once the event is over.  
Community Picnic on the Cherokee School playground, Sunday May 18, 11 am to 1 pm. See below for more.
Every Saturday 6 pm 12 Step Recovery Group, at the Welcome Table Center.
Last Thursday at 6:30 pm, Turley Area Alliance Against Crime, at the Center.
Each Thursday, 7 pm, Turley Fire and Rescue Dept meetings, 6404 N. Peoria.
Our diabetes management class and free healthy lunch just finished up on Saturday its important six week presence at The Welcome Table Center and we have been glad to co-host that with the AreaWideAging Agency.

Palm Sunday Message: The Three Americas, or Occupying The Empire’s Abandoned Places To Remind The World That God Lives Here

This Sunday’s meal message was about how Jesus “occupied” the Empire’s Temple and mocked the false values of Caeser’s Empire when and how he rode into Jerusalem for Passover, with some street theater in the midst of a dangerous time and place to show both people and the powerful that another world was possible, not only possible but could begin right now, right here, with these people. Many of the most vulnerable had been left behind both by the occupying Roman forces and by their own leaders. Jesus was sending a signal to both the haves and the have-nots that the God of the most vulnerable was still with them and was full of hope love and justice.

In that spirit, I talked about how our tradition in our community was to spend Palm Sunday “occupying” one of our abandoned places. In the past we have done it at places we eventually came to own and renew, such as the block of abandoned houses where the park is, and the vandalized church building where our community center is now, and we have done it at the old closed Cherokee School and one of the first was when we put pots of flowers along North Peoria Ave. and at our on-going gardening and beautification project occupying 66th and N. Lewis intersection. We talked about the Palm Sunday that we finished worship by going to an abandoned building and sign out front, where a civic club had been that shut down and several restaurants had been in and shut down; we “occupied” the sign and put up messages of welcome that God is Love and that God Lives in our area, even in such places as ours that others fear to come to, or run down, or just neglect.

And though the weather kept us indoors this Palm Sunday, we decided to throw a picnic for our community and any who want to join us on the playground at Cherokee School, 6001 N. Peoria Ave. Sunday, May 18, 11 am to 1 pm. Bring potluck (no alcoholic beverages) and sports equipment, and for former students bring yearbooks photos; the playgrounds and basketball courts and tetherball and grounds are still there waiting to be used. It will be our delayed Palm Sunday event.

On a deeper level, with such events and with all our work in our four directions initiative of far north Tulsa, we are fighting against the division of what I call the burgeoning polarization into the Three Americas; what we see happening in our metropolitan area seems to be found elsewhere as well. There is a dominant (always with minority strains fighting against it) “big box store” culture in the surburban areas of individualism, libertarianism, consumerism, and uniformity of “red-state” politics and theology and culture. There is a growing dominant “urban cool” “blue-state”culture in the denser populated areas of downtown and various entertainment and restaurant and artistic districts with consumerism still strong but modified as consuming creativity, and with a stronger “tribal” than libertarian vibe. Both of these Americas are places where different forms of the American Dream might attract you, but they are places where people go to, in various ways, “make it.” They are places with growing numbers of people (but not “peoples”) and therefore they are the places where government and businesses--both run with marketplace mentalities--invest in with infrastructure, entrepreneuriship, and resources.

And then there are the third districts, the abandoned places, the boarded up places, the no sidewalks and streetlights places, the places where post offices are closed and health clinics are closed (with kudos to those who are fighting against this in our area with health clinics beginning to open to reverse this trend) and schools are closed and with community centers and community pools closed or threatened to be closed and with shopping centers closed—even though there are the areas of highest need for these. This is a form of America that both of the other two zones turn away from. The Third America. While those who remain intentionally and would not live elsewhere, or those who can’t afford to live elsewhere and move here but are always hoping to “make it” by leaving, wrestle with growing lack of connection with one another and with those in power. And the land itself becomes disconnected with the people as its ownership transfers increasingly to those who live in the other Americas and as a result of the weakening of the power and voice of those who live here the land itself can be repurposed away from communal needs to the needs of corporations and businesses (where environmental injustice comes in to mirror economic and educational injustice, with landfills and salvages dominating the landscape) owned by those who live elsewhere, and the local businesses and nonprofits that do remain are often struggling against the tide, or are also in some cases adding to the blight.

On Palm Sunday, and as we move into Holy Week, with the simple meal fellowship of Maundy Thursday and the mandate to love one another, with the all too familiar abandonment and destruction of Good Friday, with the despair and sitting with grief of Holy Saturday and with its story of unseen forces still at work getting ready for renewal, with its story of Jesus relocating to Hell itself to turn it into a place not even abandoned by the love of God, and with the story of the unexpected life and the miracles of hope that Easter celebrates, through it all we seek to love the hell out of this world of the Third America, to connect the disconnected on a grassroots level and also to connect the other two Americas with the Third America, the Third Place so to speak. Like the disciples of old, we don’t do it well. But we too remain, or we return, or we relocate our lives because we have been the recipients of a grace that abounds that reminds us that Love overcomes death, injustice, neglect, helplessness, shame, failures. We do not know what the future holds; every month brings new challenges and the same old struggles, but Palm Sunday teaches us that the future of new life is already started. 


This Spring at The Welcome Table

Coming Community Events
Free Breakfast Every Saturday 9 am, weather permitting, Welcome Table Community GardenPark and Orchard, 6005 N. Johnstown Ave. Growing your own food is like printing your own money. Get a Free Garden Bed.

Every Wednesday and Saturday, 10 am to Noon, Free Food and Clothing and More On Community Days, Welcome Table Center, 5920 N. Owasso Ave. serving the 74126, 74130, 74073 zips. Also free books, computer center, art studio.

(due to a funeral the foodstore will be closed Saturday, April 12; open again Wed. April 16 at 10 am and by appointment calling 918-691-3223)

Community Breakfast April 12, 7 to 10 am, $5 with Kids 10 and under free, Odd Fellows Lodge, 6227 N. Quincy Ave. 

Community Easter Kids Celebration, Sat. April 12, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm at Turley United Methodist Church, 6050 N. Johnstown Ave. including kid gardening at our gardenpark and orchard. 

Wednesday, April 16, 12:30 pm lunch for seniors (55 plus) at our Welcome Table Center followed by trip to Aquarium in Jenks. 

Thursday, April 17, 6:30 pm free dinner and Maundy Thursday communion worship at The Welcome Table Center

Friday, April 18, Good Friday worship at noon with us at All Souls Church, 2952 S. Peoria Ave. 

Sat. April 19, 10 am Our Area Public Forum, Rudisill Library, Pine & Hartford Ave.

Easter Sunday, April 20, Sunrise Prayer and Meditation Event, 6:30 to 7 am on top of the hill at The Welcome Table GardenPark and Orchard followed by breakfast at The Welcome Table Center. Worship at 10:30 am at Turley United Methodist Church. Come for any or all. 

Earth Day Tuesday, April 22, Turley Litter Pick-Up and Free Dinner for volunteers who help, 5 pm meet at The Welcome Table Center. 

Turley Community Association, Tuesday April 29, 7 pm O'Brien Park Center, 6147 N. Birmingham Ave.

McLain/Turley Area Planning and Partner Meeting, Thursday, May 1, Noon with Free Lunch, The Welcome Table Center.

Mobile Food Pantry Day, Friday, May 16, volunteers begin at 10 am, food pickup at 11 am, The Welcome Table Center. Get vouchers at Wed. and Sat. community days. 

Every Saturday 6 pm 12 Step Recovery Group, at the Welcome Table Center.
Last Thursday at 6:30 pm, Turley Area Alliance Against Crime, at the Center.
Each Thursday, 7 pm, Turley Fire and Rescue Dept meetings, 6404 N. Peoria.

Who We Are/What We Do/Why Summary

The Welcome Table Missional Community/
A Third Place Community Foundation

Renewing The Far Northside: Volunteer Grassroots Response

2002-03 Epiphany Church began in Owasso, suburb of Tulsa
2004 moved to 6305 N. Peoria Ave. Turley/McLain School area
2005 became The Living Room Church and began partnering with Turley Community Association and Cherokee School on beautification projects
2007 Opened A Third Place Community Center at 6416 N. Peoria Ave. and moved in it and began working with OU Graduate Social Work program on community forums;
2008 hosted OU Health Clinic;
2009 created A Third Place Community Foundation and began demonstration gardening with Turley United Methodist Church and providing school gardens and landscaping for Cherokee Elementary School and helped form McLain School Foundation;
2010 bought a block of abandoned houses and trashed property at 6005 N. Johnstown Ave. to begin transforming into a community gardenpark;
2011 bought an abandoned church building at 5920 N. Owasso Ave. and moved the community center into it and planted the community orchard;
2012 created The Welcome Table Free Corner Store Food Pantry.

Area We Serve:
Primarily from 46th St. N. to 76th St. N. and from Highway 75 to Osage County Line; all within the McLain School boundary; far north Tulsa and Turley community area but our food store also serves the Sperry area. We are located in 74126, one of the lowest income zipcodes in the Tulsa area with a life expectancy 14 years lower than midtown Tulsa. We also serve 74130. 

Current Offerings:
Twice a Week Free Food Store;
4-5 times a year Mobile Pantry giving out 5 tons of food in one hour;
occasional Mobile Eatery from Food Bank
Computer Center/Free Wifi
Free Books
Clothes and More (take what you need; leave what you can)
Community Art Studio and Art Events
Washer/Dryer and Shower
Community Recycling Bin
Weekly 12-Step Recovery
Community Holiday Events and Festivals
Monthly Community Planning
Monthly Turley Area Seniors
Community GardenPark and Orchard and Free weekly meals at the Park

Current Community Projects
Abandoned Properties: Demolition or Upkeep
66th and N. Lewis Intersection Transformation
Welcome to Turley Sign Project
Roadside Wildflowers/Trash Pickup
Prairie Trails Wildflower Preservation Rest Area across from our park

Planting Project Seeds: In Conversation or In Vision
Cherokee School, closed in 2011, Repurposing
Scattered Site Low Rent Housing Program, plus “Relocation Homes” transforming abandoned homes
Osage Prairie Trail Awareness and Appreciation Event(s) and Community Info Kiosks
Far North Main Street from 46th to 66th St. on N. Peoria Ave
Community Lay Health Advocate Program (turning health clinics inside out)
Village Post Office to replace closed post office

Current Partners
University of Oklahoma-Tulsa
Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma
Tulsa Health Department North Regional Wellness Center
Tulsa Food Security Council
Tulsa Community Gardening Association
McLain School Foundation
Turley Community Association
Turley United Methodist Church
Turley Fire and Rescue Dept
Tulsa County O’Brien Park and Recreation
Sarah’s Residential Living Center
Newsome Community Farms
Oklahoma State University Extension Dept
The LightHouse Charter School
Gilcrease Elementary School.