On Leavenworth Street near the 480 sits a windowless building with a dingy marquee that used to read “Girls! Girls! Girls!” You can imagine what kinds of things took place at Sheri’s Show Club in light of its location just off of Park Avenue – a street notorious for drug use and prostitution. But all of that is changing. What was formerly a dark, depraved strip club is about to become a beacon of hope for a broken neighborhood. This past week, inCommon Community Development signed the paperwork to take over occupancy of Sheri’s and turn it into the Park Avenue Community Center.
inCommon is led by Coram Deo members Christian and Sonya Gray, and is our oldest ministry partner in the city. Back in the fall of 2005, then-intern JD Senkbile led Coram Deo into a ministry partnership with inCommon (then known as Mosaic Community Development). Since that time God has forged an ever-deepening bond between the two organizations. Much of Coram Deo’s thinking about poverty – including our Theology of Poverty position paper – was worked out in dialogue with the folks at inCommon. And inCommon’s own transition away from broad homeless ministry and toward more focused neighborhood redevelopment came partially through dialogue and interaction with Coram Deo. We share a common vision for city renewal. We read the same books and love the same authors. We worship a common Savior and follow his call to care for the poor.
And so we are deeply excited about this major victory for our friends at inCommon! A community center in the Park Avenue neighborhood is the fruit of five years of patient persistence on their part. And so we continue to hope and pray: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, in Omaha as it is in heaven.”
When the kingdom of God comes, strip clubs go out of business. And Christians love their city by helping to restore broken neighborhoods.