UNITING OUR CITY AS ONE
Our mission is to create space and opportunities to unite our city through resources, relationships, and community development. We believe in a city where division disappears, people purposely connect, and our community builds upon each other’s strengths and resources. For far too long we have bought into the idea that separation along the lines of socio-economic, racial, or cultural background is normal. We have even allowed the location of our homes dictate who we are and how we feel about those not like us. We no longer want to fall into the false belief that separation should be an accepted way of life. Separation and division not only hurts us as individuals, but it can slowly break down and destroy a community.
Our One City team is full of passionate community members who believe what Ephesians 4:4-6 says is true.
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”
Pastor Byron Bonner
Work Life Coordinator
Work Life & Community Coord.
Like so many great stories; the twists, turns, wins, and losses are all a part of the journey and believe us there were plenty of each along the way with how One City came to be. Thankfully God, in His very fatherly way, kept showing us the next steps to take without revealing the true plan, because I don’t think we could have ever believed it could be done (nor would we have probably done it). It started way before we knew it was starting. Our first big step came through becoming involved in an amazing Mission in Swaziland (Eswatini) Africa in 2009, Heart for Africa. Through our involvement and trips, the world became a smaller place and God became even bigger. It was where we saw the difference of what can happen when people from different backgrounds, cultures, and life experience could learn so much from one another once trust and true relationship was built. Relationships take time and actual presence. Knowing we weren’t called to live full time in Africa our eyes were opened to also start looking closer at our community we lived in, one in which we could see was so divided by a lot of the same things - different backgrounds, cultures, socioeconomics and life experience. Determined to get involved locally we found ourselves becoming part of the foster care system and becoming licensed foster parents. This time was pivotal in helping us see everyone’s experience in our area, not just looking through the lens of life from our perspective only, but actually hands on in the thick of it. This was also the time that God started nudging us that we HAD to be part of trying to bridge gaps and break down the socioeconomic and racial walls that kept people from knowing and understanding each other in our community. Not easy and not without plenty of pain but we stayed in and in 2013 that led us to adopt a beautiful little girl that was placed in our home. While we had already started building new relationships with people across our community, this little girl brought it front and center. We needed to better understand the African American experience. In 2015 we had a breakthrough. We were in Austin gathered with a group of people from all across the country who were on the same path as us. During Sunday worship, we both individually heard God say to us, “Start Something Like This”. We both knew it wasn’t specifically a church but rather a place where people come to be in relationships, lift one another up, meet the daily needs of life, where everyone felt comfortable and not out of place, something that met the needs of everyday outside of Sunday. We were excited, scared, energized, overwhelmed, and not sure where to begin. Thankfully we felt sure that One City would be a place where we create space and opportunities to unite our city through resources, relationships, and community development. So now what? Thankfully God led us to the Mosaix Conference in Dallas in 2016 and we got the final push. The Conference picked a verse from the Lord’s prayer found in Matthew 6:10 which reads, ‘your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’ The emphasis was that since heaven would be a gathering of all God’s people, why would we ever want to have barriers on earth that kept us apart. While in a breakout session, a stranger hears what is on our heart and says you gotta meet this couple from Detroit. The couple took the time to meet with us and without knowing our whole story described everything we wanted to do and the building we would need to do it in. It was God’s confirmation that it was time. We came back home and knew we had to make an offer to buy the building on Independence that we had just said no to a month before. As always, God was way ahead of us because the owners, Mickey and Sue Roper, were strong Christians who had a huge heart for people. After hearing our vision and what we wanted to do, God really started showing off. We discovered the Roper’s grandson was involved in a similar ministry in Memphis started by the very man who helped write the curriculum we were going to use for our job training program, Work Life. In fact that ministry even had a building very similar to this one and one our favorite God moments was realizing the address of the building in Cape was 610 Independence. We truly believe God was saying this is where you “Start something like this” and where Matthew 6:10 - On earth as it is in heaven will be lived out. In 2017 we officially launched One City out of the 26,000 square warehouse space at 610 Independence.