January 22, 2014 – Weekly Update

This weeks Update and News: Packard plant development, Detroit Bankruptcy and Church Diversity

WEEKEND UPDATE AND NEWS.001

DETROIT NEWS

  • Packard Plant Development 

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The Packard Plants new owner is talking plans and development for the decrepit building and structures that have been an eye soar for decades here in Detroit this week. According to the Free Press, “The Spanish-born developer plans to spend his time networking with industry executives and aggressively pitching his vision for redeveloping the 40-acre site with modern factory space to attract auto suppliers and other manufacturers back to Detroit….Palazuelo (the new owner of the Packard Plant) said he has several meetings in Detroit this week related to financing. He estimated the total price tag at $350 million….His long-term vision is to redevelop the site as a mixed-use project over a period of 10-15 years or more. He plans to save some of the old factory buildings and build new ones to suit future tenants. Market demand will dictate the timetable of the redevelopment, he said.”

Here’s why this is big news here…finally something is happening with the plant. Now security is being brought in and that alone makes the area a safer place for poor residents that are stuck in the area. For years, the plant has been used by gangs & dealers, bodies have been dumped and a host of other depraved activities.

  • Detroit Bankruptcy & Pension News

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Detroit is broke. The impact of that is profound. It’s gotten so bad that… “A judge overseeing Detroit’s bankruptcy has heard arguments from creditors who want a role in deciding what to do with the city’s valuable art collection.” – FP

The ones that are hit by this the hardest are those elderly and retired that are living on pensions from the city. Whats happening now is that the courts are determining what happens next, who gets paid and who doesn’t, and what gets sold/cut to help pay off the remaining debt. “Only time will tell, but Orr’s restructuring plan provides some insights into the changes Detroiters might see.” HP

This is affecting us because the need for food and housing assistance has substantially increased in the last few months as some people are panicking and others are fearing the inevitable future. Some businesses are not hiring and others are at a standstill waiting on what happens next.

It was just announced today that Michigan Governor Snyder is announcing a state aid plan to protect the art and help save some of the pensions. “Snyder is expected to say the state will contribute money toward boosting the pension funds and protecting the Detroit Institute of Arts’ city-owned collection from being auctioned off to satisfy creditors.” –DN My prayer is that our leaders will make the right decisions that will help this city that I love from making even more bad decisions. This will take time and require serious cutbacks. Years of mismanagement and bad speculation is what we are currently dealing with today.

  • Its cold here….really cold.

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The weather has been bad. This has sent the 30k+ Detroit homeless community into abandoned houses and business resulting in fires and deaths. While there are shelters, there are not enough. We need several centers where homeless and the poor can go so that these “squatter fires” can stop. Just in my neighborhood we saw three houses burn down since the New Year because of homeless going into these abandoned buildings and setting fires to stay warm and then the fires get out of control.

“In 2000, Detroit was the 10th largest city in the U.S., with a population of 1.8million. Today that figure stands at 700,000, and empty streets lined with vacant and abandoned homes serve as a glaring reminder of the painful decline the once-thriving city has witnessed over the intervening years.” –DM

While some of the fires have been linked to arson, most are caused by those just trying to stay warm. A week ago I met a man who with girlfriend and 6month old daughter have been living in their car and driving to empty houses and staying in them. This is becoming an epidemic that can be stopped if we can reintroduce to Detroit jobs and living arrangements for those who need it most.

CHRISTIAN NEWS

  • Christians, Racism and Diversity

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LifeWay Research Poll: US Pastors Want Racial Diversity on Sunday Mornings But Still Have Little.LW

Diversity isn’t a four letter word, but it looks like it could be. Racism is still prevalent, not just in culture but in the church today. “White Church” very rarely associated with “Black Church” and visa versa. This is sad. When we get to Heaven there will be Christians from …”every tribe and every country…” but not so in the American Church today. This is seen very clearly here in Detroit. While many are doing their best to stop this, we need to stop putting up barriers that block other cultures from mingling and rather promote Jesus across different cultures and allow them to join together.

“Everybody wants diversity,” said Stetzer. “But many don’t want to be around people who are different.” –LW

So how do we have true diversity? What are the steps? Its actually quite simple yet takes time to implement…stop pushing your culture and promote Jesus. When Jesus is at the center and not your traditions and way of doing things…people become Jesus followers and not “your church” followers.

I’m not saying this as someone who has figured it all out, but as a Pastor of City Church where we are very diverse…this must become the mission of the church. Make Jesus big and everything else small. Stop doing things because “thats the way we do it” and rather do what and be what the need is for your city.

“It was Martin Luther King Jr. who said Sunday at 11 o’clock was the most segregated hour in America–and 40 years later this statement still rings true for over ninety percent of churches.” –Urban News

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