Redeeming Bedrock Park Celebration
Volunteers working to help clean up Bedrock Park ahead of the weekend celebration.
There are some people who have a talent for taking old automobiles that have deteriorated so much they are a far cry from their original beauty, or older homes that no longer seem desirable, These restorers do not see the discouraging decline of what once was, but the possibility of returning something to it’s former glory and beyond. Every city in our nation faces the challenge of declining neighborhoods, parks, houses and structures that need renewal. Oroville is no different.
Bedrock Park was once a favorite place for families to enjoy a picnic and swim in the river. Old photos of the park tell the story of how popular this park was and how people enjoyed what it offered and represented. However, Bedrock Park began to decline over the years for a number of reasons. The results of this decline was it was no longer user friendly and families felt unsafe. Like other cities, the homeless problem and how to address it compassionately, but firmly has effected so much of our downtown areas.
For a number of years, a partnership of pastors from the greater Oroville area have gathered for weekly prayer. It was during one of these prayer times that we felt the Lord clearly speak to us that we were to mobilize our churches and focus on helping restore Bedrock Park. The plan included more that the physical work days to clean up the park, but also begin to prayer walk the park and surrounding neighborhoods. Many of those who did began to have a ministry and relationship with the homeless. We also sent out canvassing teams to over 700 homes in the blocks around Bedrock Park and asked if there were any concerns they had for their neighborhood, and could we pray for them. Then we invited them to join us for a celebration at Bedrock Park on Sunday, October 14. At this celebration, we had a potluck dinner provided by the churches. We fed about 350 people. (It looked like there were more people than food, but we prayed and the Lord provided just enough.) We aren’t sure how many people from the neighborhood came and participated, but we are sure that some of the homeless did. It was a real blessing to see how this celebration became more than about the restoration of a park, but about the body of Christ, His church coming together to help redeem an entire city. This was the first deposit.
A special recognition and thank you was given to Police Chief Bill LaGrone for his leadership in partnering with us in this Restoration Vision. He was so impressed with the turn out and the participation from the churches that his comment was “We ought to do this once a month.”
Pastor John Mitchell from the CFC One Voice church shared his powerful story of “redemption.” He grew up in a broken home, ended up being abused, addicted and homeless in San Francisco for many years. He found Jesus through the loving mother who had left him when he was three. She had been radically transformed by the Love of Jesus, and invited John to move to Idaho and live with her new family. He soon surrendered to Christ, felt God’s call to ministry. Seven Years later, Pastor John is a living witness of what the heart of God for a broken humanity and community can be transformed into.
Redeeming Bedrock Park will be an ongoing process, just as the Church of Oroville continues to pray together, work together, and love each other. We will see the One who is the Restorer of all things broken use His Church to Redeem the City of Oroville.
Written by Pastor Ed
Pastor John Mitchell sharing about his journey out of homelessness and into the calling that God has on his life.