In last week’s blog I wrote about Darryl and Vonda Dozlow leaving Regina to “go to where creatives who want to change the world are, introduce them to Jesus through the practices of a compelling third way, then partner with them to begin that change in their own neighbourhood.”
So where has God called them to live out this third way? Riversdale- one of the oldest neighborhoods located near downtown Saskatoon. Wikipedia has this to say about Riversdale, “It consists mostly of low-density, single detached dwellings. As of 2011, the area is home to 2,135 residents. Riversdale has experienced an economic and development boom since 2012 and has even been called Canada’s Next Great Neighbourhood. However, the neighbourhood is still considered a lower-income area.”
Why Riversdale? This path is a bit winding so stay with me. After receiving the “download from God” and fine tuning the elevator pitch, the Dozlows began praying about where this call to missions would lead them. They ruled out Regina (their current home town) pretty quick because as Darryl explained, “If I know anything about church planting it’s that you struggle a lot and there’s lots of temptation to toss it all in and go back. And I really don’t want Northview (their church home of 29 years) to be my Egypt. I want Northview to be my Antioch. Rather than looking back all the time at all the good stuff, I want to be able to call my friends there and ask for prayer.”
They knew they wanted urban not rural. God pushed them by asking, “What kind of urban?” Apparently Jared Seibert, FMCiC’s Director of Church Development and Saskatoon resident, also gave them a little nudge because after checking out a couple of neighborhoods they felt they could live in Jared suggested they drive through Riversdale. And that is exactly what Darryl and Vonda did, they drove into Riversdale and right back out again. All they saw was an old neighborhood that did not appear to have a natural connection for them.
Darryl called Jared who dropped everything and met up with them. They went through Riversdale together and Jared pointed out stuff that they had driven right by. One example: the owners of The Hollows, a new eatery with a world class chef, gutted and renovated an old Chinese restaurant but they didn’t have enough cash to remove the giant neon green dragon from the front of the building. Darryl began to learn, “Riversdale is not what you see at first. It’s what you see when you look closer and I’m really excited to be invited by God to be part of what’s happening underneath the big green dragon that everyone sees when they come into the neighborhood.”
The Dozlows just purchased a house (pictured above) in their new hood. To be continued…
To read The Third Way – Part One click here.