A proposed three-story, 21,000-square foot community center that will have a variety of uses, all of which are intended to be open to people living in our Hope Street housing, and the surrounding area.
The community center will be called SHECHEM, after the Canaanite city of Shechem, which the bible describes as a place of refuge. Many significant events throughout the Bible took place at Shechem. God chose to be at that particular place over and over, because of the drama and messiness of it.
You see He owns Shechem.
[shee-kuh m, -kem, shek-uh m, -em]
Shechem at Hope Street received its Conditional Use Permit to operate as a Community Center from the Board of Zoning on November 7th, 2019 for 10 years!
We have benefited from the solid foundation upon which we stand, we are aware of our present reality and yet we have been given a glimpse into our future. Starting this year we will take what we have done, what we are learning and now do what we are being asked because of what we have learned.
There is something special about a place that keeps producing powerful stories. The bible subtly references one such place, Shechem, several times. Not many people know anything about that place, even though amazing things happened there.
At Hope Street we can relate. Hope Street is the Greenhouse for men, women and children whose lives have been profoundly affected by the toxic environment they grew up in, their own poor choices, and drug or alcohol abuse. Like Shechem we have stories of God changing lives in profound ways; we also are a special place that not many people know about.
At this point in our story we see ourselves at a crossroads. We will either plateau or grow. We believe God is calling us to be an increasingly healthy part of our community. This will require more people to know about our place, and the potential of growing it. We need you for that. DONATE NOW
SHECHEM IS OUR UNSEEN CITY.
“By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going. By an act of faith he lived in the country promised him, lived as a stranger camping in tents. Isaac and Jacob did the same, living under the same promise. Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations—the City designed and built by God.”
Hebrews 11:8-10 MSG
The Refuge Garden
The history of Shechem is complex. At times it was a place of violence and segregation, but it was also the first place of promise, a city of refuge, and where Jesus met the woman at the well and reconciled all of these realities. The space where this famous meeting took place is significant in a number of ways - from the reality that this was a place to go around, that was populated by a people that was seen as “less than” and “other” to the history of the promise that was made there between God and Abram. The parallels between historical Shechem and 26th & Capitol in Milwaukee’s Northside are numerous. Hope Street believes that this place - one known for violence, drugs and segregation - can be a place of promise, of refuge and of reconciliation.
As we continue to quietly raise funds for the construction of Shechem we would like to invite you to join us in creating a green space on the empty lot of 2510 W. Capitol Drive - the future site of Shechem at Hope Street. In this walking garden you will be able to find more information about the gymnasium, café, meeting and classroom spaces, and the rooftop garden, along with learning more about the story of Shechem. Each station will have benches for you to sit and ponder or pray about what things you want refuge from, to consider how you might become part of our community, and what you hope to see change in you, your family, and your community. That is what this place is about: building community and cultivating hope in a safe place for people… just like you.2