All posts in “neighbors”

COVID-19 and First Free Rockford

Here’s an assortment of relevant information for our church family. This was current as of Tuesday afternoon, March 17.

 

How many can gather?

**The following information was posted before the stay-at-home order from Friday, Mar. 20, 2020.**

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended limiting all public gatherings to less than 50 people for the next eight weeks, until May 10. On Monday, President Trump recommended limiting gatherings to 10 people. Our main office is closed until further notice as of Mar. 21, 2020.

The Illinois governor’s office over the weekend ordered (not just recommended) a 50-person limit for our state. The governor’s order applies to gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, private clubs, theaters and houses of worship. It does not apply to grocery stores, hospitals, pharmacies, gas stations, banks or shelters. Read More

Bridging boundaries

by Jim Killam | 5-minute read

 

Before First Free moved to its current location in 1980, it was a fixture in a vibrant Rockford neighborhood called Midtown.

Today, Bob and Jill Campbell spend most of their waking hours continuing to invest in the spiritual health of that neighborhood — their neighborhood.

For most of the last 30 years, the Campbells have been part of the Christian Community Development Association. One of the organization’s keystone values is to live in the neighborhood where you serve. Bob and Jill have lived in two Rockford neighborhoods: first for 10 years in Coronado Haskell and now for the past 15 years in Midtown. Bob serves as executive director for Zion Development Corporation, the ministry working to transform Midtown. Jill serves with CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ), running a newsletter mailing service from a Seventh Street office. Read More

Coffee in the driveway

by Rob Ullrich | 4-minute read

 

“It’s hard to believe, but this used to be a nice place to live.” 

My dad’s car crawled past sagging houses, half hidden behind waist-high weeds. 

“There. That was our place. Over there, the Olsons and there, the Zimmermans.” He went on naming the whole block, narrating his old neighborhood legend. “See that addition on the house? We put that up in one day. Every guy on the block was there.” 

I didn’t think much of those stories at the time. But my neighborhood experiences have been very different. I definitely don’t know the whole block. We haven’t built anything together. In fact, I only know many of our neighbors as the lady with the dog or the guy with the sunflowers or the house with the oversized election signs. Others I’ve never seen.  Read More

First Free Rockford book spotlight recommendation header image

Book Spotlight: February 2020

Evangelism books never sell very well.

There are some good ones out there, usually written by extroverts with the spiritual gift of evangelism. They make the reader feel guilty. Inadequate. The gist is, “Here’s what I did, and here’s how many people came to Christ. Go and do likewise.”

I’ve read a few of these books. I even wrote one. Ghost-wrote it, actually, for a husband and wife who were better at neighborhood hospitality and evangelism than anyone I have ever known. People who read the book (I think there might have been eight) told me it convicted them, but they could never do what Norm and Becky did. God then used this incredible couple to build a neighborhood hospitality ministry in India. Thousands have come to faith. It’s a wonderful story.

The Simplest Way to Change the World by Dustin Willis and Brandon Clements.

The Simplest Way to Change the World is written by two people who sound more like me: a guy who would sooner unclog a toilet than host a block party. Dustin Willis and Brandon Clements confront this immediately:

Half of all people identify as introverts, so if you are one, we realize you may be thinking, Yeah, but I really can’t practice — I don’t want to practice — hospitality because I’m an introvert. It would be too draining. Please do not read this book thinking the message is, Force yourself to be an extrovert because of the gospel! Please don’t let your personality type be a barrier to living out a God-ordained calling that is actually tailor-made to suit your personality type.

Read More

The 11-year-olds’ guide to trick-or-treating

By Jim Killam

Not sure of your Halloween responsibilities as a neighborhood resident? We’re here to help. Over the years, and at great personal cost, we have intercepted reconnaissance from local 11-year-olds as they devise their trick-or-treat strategies. At most houses, everything goes just fine. Nothing to report.

Then there are … The Eleven. Eleven types of well-intentioned residents who get flagged by trick-or-treaters for Halloween misconduct. Read the list and make necessary adjustments. Learn from those who have gone before you. This carries the added benefit of keeping toilet paper from lodging in your trees later that evening. 

Here goes.

Read More

Notice: The main office is closed and all public gatherings are suspended until further notice.More Details