In the early 2000s, a small church in South Lebanon called Otterbein United Methodist took a look around and realized their neighborhood was changing. New families were moving in, new needs were being discovered. Families were hungry. Parents needed support. And they realized we all need a closer, better community. So they jumped, they took a leap of faith, purchased an old home on Green Street, remodeled it, and gave it a new name: Shalom.
“Shalom” is an old Hebrew word that is full of meaning. While it can be a way of saying “hello” and “goodbye” – a simple exchange between neighbors – “Shalom” can also mean peace, completeness, and prosperity. Author Cornelius Plantinga describes shalom as, “the webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight…In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight – a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed…Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.” Shalom: the way things ought to be.
Well things as they are, aren’t yet the way they “ought to be.” In a recent report from the United Way of Central Indiana, food scarcity remains an issue for the residents of Boone County. Over 11% or 6,370 people in our county remain food insecure. Many of these hungry people are children. The need still exists, things aren’t yet the way they ought to be, and so we continue to work.
Here at the Lebanon Community of Shalom our mission is to impact the people of Boone County by feeding bodies and encouraging the spirit. Our vision is to feed our community so that one day no one will ever experience hunger.
It’s ambitious mission with an even grandeur vision, but can you imagine with us a day when no one in our community will experience hunger again? Can you imagine a day when the child at the neighborhood school won’t have to wonder if they will have food for dinner when they go home after school? Can you imagine a day when neighbors look out for neighbors, become friends, and encourage one another to use their gifts in service to the rest of their community? Can you imagine a day when things in Boone County are “the way they ought to be”?
We can. And we are striving toward that day.
With your help and continued support, this grand vision can become a reality. Kids don’t have to be hungry anymore. Neighbors don’t have to be isolated from neighbors anymore. Our community is changing, and it’s changing for the better.
Shalom to you, our friends. Shalom to you.
304 West Green Street
P.O. Box 135
Lebanon, IN 46052