The Context for a Restorative Community
The existing community context is one that markets fear, assigns fault, and worships self-interest. This context supports the belief that the future will be improved with new laws, more oversight, and stronger leadership.
We seek to create a new context that restores community as one of possibility, generosity, and gifts, rather than one of fear, mistakes, and self-interest. Citizens of the new community become powerful when they choose to shift the context within which they act in the world.
The words above are paraphrased from author Peter Block in his book, Community: The Structure of Belonging. The works of Block, as well as the writings of Christopher Alexander, Werner Erhard, and Robert Putnam have been the binding inspiration behind the developmental work for A Neighborhood Place (ANP). These works all place a premium on changing the context of our communities and creating the possibility for citizens to come together in places that support that effort not only in intention, but in design.
The principals of ANP have not only watched but have been intimately involved with communities in search of life and connectedness. They have seen how groups find and create spaces for neighborhood involvement and activity that go beyond the building of venues for music, or swimming pools, or fitness clubs. New life is born when doors are opened to all the members of a community and they are asked, “What do you want?”
Parker, who calls himself a community alchemist, feels he has been in the process of preparing for this adventure his entire life
Parker began his professional life in banking, working with businesses and communities, tying them together. This led to being recruited to some time as a pastor, forming new communities in the burgeoning suburbs of Seattle and NW Washington. In 1992 he began working on the first of two community impact events to engage church, community, and business leaders with the specific goal of strengthening families and the social fabric of those communities. The first was fatherHEART, helping men become better providers of the kinds of physical, emotional, and spiritual support that families need. The second event was lifeWORKS, assisting people in finding real balance in the struggles and stresses of work and home life to be better at both. In 2007 he became involved with the creation of TaborSpace at Mt Tabor Presbyterian Church (a description of which follows in Appendix II). In 2012, he and J T Quanbeck began to form the first concepts of A Neighborhood Place while involved in The Conversation Project with the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon and St. Luke the Physician Episcopal Church in Gresham. The Conversation Project was about the development of a template for church/community partnership.
J T Quanbeck
J T Quanbeck is a life-long communicator.
J T’s professional life began in construction which was an outgrowth of college studies spent in architecture, art, and video studies. Though continuously involved in graphic arts and writing over the years, he also spent time in restaurant management. Since 1998 he has been in communications full-time, art directing magazines, managing a graphic design firm, and doing web development. In 2009 he became the communication director for the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon, retiring from that position in 2016. He has served on several non-profit boards of directors, including leadership positions. While at the Diocese of Oregon he served on the national board of the Episcopal Communicators and remains a member. Since 2016 he has been occupied with freelance graphic design and web development while working on the A Neighborhood Place project.