Letters to the editor

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Pickerington: a community in need of community

I have lived in the Pickerington "community" for over 10 years and have yet to sense real community.  

 

As with other fast growing suburban communities around central Ohio, families appear to move into these areas seeking improved housing options, better school systems, a sense of safety and security from the harsh elements found in the "city."  The income and educational level of our suburban residents are higher and therefore make living in these areas affordable as well as desirable.

As I see it, this makes for ideal opportunities for retailers to settle in and offer every type of desirable goods that one could ever dream of. Quality and reputable businesses of all sorts have found enticing ways of making us see, need and want that which they offer. As a wife, pastor, mother and grandmother, I have to admit, the convenience of saving gas and time can be a blessing. Business is booming around here!

Community athletic organizations in the area have truly helped keep children occupied and in many ways helped with self discipline and personal goal setting.

But I also see families stretched financially and giving up precious family togetherness while trying to keep up with demands.

What I don’t see in Pickerington is that old fashioned sense of community. What I feel here in Pickerington is what renowned writer and author M. Scott Peck calls a pseudo community: "Where participants are nice with each other, playing-safe, and presenting what they feel is the most favourable sides of their personalities."

Peck goes on to say that "true community is the process of deep respect and true listening for the needs of the other people in this community. This stage Peck believes can only be described as ‘glory’ and reflects a deep yearning in every human soul for compassionate understanding from one’s fellows."

 

With all of the wonderful opportunities that Pickerington offers (including our various "pockets" of secular and religious groups and fellowships that are doing great good in this area), we need a place where everyone can come together without a sense of competition or having to "keep up with the Jones’s" (who can remember that phrase?!). Pickerington needs a common place where cultural, educational, recreation and social activities are available for all age groups, regardless of race, religion, social or economic status. That’s where we can be in community through sharing, caring and giving with our neighbors here in Pickerington.

The Community Gathering of All People (CGAP), a non-profit community organization in Pickerington, has been trying and is dedicated to bring about such a facility.  We have faced so many challenges over the years due to land costs and facing giants who have their own interests. Everybody wants it but nobody wants to take the risk of helping bring about a "community center." No, it doesn’t make money; its not for profit – but it builds community.

With the vision, strength and power that God has given me, I am committed to seeing this project come into fruition – soon!


Rev. Alyce Hardin-Cook
Board member of Community
Gathering of All People
Pastor of Gethsemane United
Methodist Church, Pickerington

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