We sat around a makeshift conference table--the kind created by shoving three or four smaller tables of various sizes and shapes together to make room for the group.
The room, rather starkly lighted, had once housed one of the families who lived at Lincoln Heights Courts, a public housing project located in a really tough west side neighborhood of San Antonio. Now remodeled and "opened up" to the small apartment next door, the space served as the office for the Residence Council of the development.
"Has anyone talked to the churches in the neighborhood about our needs?" an older woman serving on the advisory board asked hopefully.
Knowing smiles broke across the faces of two or three members of the group.
"The churches here are 'transient,'" one woman said. "By that I mean the members come in on Sundays and maybe Wednesdays, but then they go home out of the neighborhood. They don't seem to want to be involved with the community."
The older woman protested.
"Oh, I don't know about that," she offered, still hopeful.
"You know the church down at the corner," she pointed across the room and through the wall.
The group asked a question or two to get a fix on the church she had in mind.
Once they understood which church, she continued.
"Why, that church painted the two buildings at the corner for us!" she reported with an enthusiastic smile.
"You mean the two building they own next door to the church?" someone asked.
"No, no," the woman explained. "They painted two of the project apartment buildings. You know the ones that are a different color from the rest."
A number of the group seemed surprised.
"That's interesting," someone observed. "Why did they paint those buildings?"
"Well, television people kept showing up at the church and they didn't want people to think their church was in a crummy neighborhood," the woman explained.
And then, the group sat in silence for a few moments before continuing with the business at hand.
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