Ending the 2012 year on a Merry Note!
Kara & Jeri singing beautifully for Jesus at the Fishes 'n Loaves' Christmas Party
This past year has been amazing, and there is MUCH to celebrate as we move into 2013.
Pictured on our Home Page are some of the newest bright and shining stars of our Friday night events team: Becky, Paul and Janae, plus Santa Joe (a Ministry Board Member who has supported us ever since our launch.)
Our expanding team is digging in -- they are creating events, decorating, cleaning and making new things happen in ways that fill our community with hope that 2013 will be our best year yet. Ivan, shown below, also continues to innovate new ministries at The Center.
It's hard to believe, but where our Community Center is located there once stood the largest shopping mall in the world. Back in the 1960's, Englewood built the sprawling 3-story Cinderella City Mall, and at that time, there was no bigger mall under one roof in the world.
Pictured in the top corner of the frame beside Ivan is a postcard
showing the fountain that once gushed inside Cinderella City not
far from where Ivan is standing by our front door.
My daughter Erica, now a senior at CSU, once danced as an adorable pre-schooler beside that very fountain -- it was a Christmas Nutcracker routine, and she wore a sparkling pink tutu.
Go back even further, and our community was a bit of a Wild West town, complete with saloons, local army fort activity, ranches, brothels, and gambling hall entertainment. Soapy Smith ran a shell game in Englewood before leaving for the Klondike Gold Rush, where he was shot dead in Skagway by an outraged loser.
In the bottom right corner of the frame by Ivan is a postcard showing this horse car:
This is the "World-Famous Cherrelyn Bronco-and-Gravity Horse Car." The Cherrely horse car was pulled up a hill one block from my house on Broadway, and when the trolley got to the top of the hill a mile away, the horse got off, climbed on the tailgate, then got a ride back down! The little post office and dry goods store at the top of that hill was called "Cherrelyn," and my children went to school up there at Cherrelyn Elementary! The postcard by Ivan shows that little Cherrelyn junction where the horse climbed a ramp for his ride back down.
As a guy who loves Englewood and Englewood history, I collect all sorts of things related to our city's history. My collection includes dozens of Cherrelyn cards and photos, plus old Englewood silver souvenir spoons, plates, calendars, matchbooks... you name it!
NOTE two things about the old 1909 postcard above:
1. The title at the top of the postcard says: "The Cherryln Horse Car... Denver, Colo." and
2. Left of the cigar store is a bigger trolley car blocking the little horse trolley's path. Let me explain these two oddities.
Even a century ago, Denver overshadowed Englewood. Englewood had MUCH going on, but for people back east, anything in the Denver area was simply called "Denver." So, even though the horse trolley was in Englewood, postcards called the location Denver.
Next, the big trolley in front of the horse car:
The Denver trolley system ran straight from the State Capitol down Broadway to downtown Englewood. The Denver line ended at Hampden Ave., which is the intersection in the above scene. When the Denver trolleys arrived at Hampden, they turned on Hampden and did a big circle loop to get back to Broadway north. Downtown Englewood was the end of the Denver south line. The big trolley car is shown at the southern tip of the Denver line, and it is making a turn in front of the horse car on the loop as it prepares to go back north to the Capitol.
It was a local Englewood team that took matters into their own hands, and they created and operated the Cherrelyn line on their own. The Cherrelyn horse car line started where the Denver line ended. This courageous team did such a good job that, just like with Cinderella City in the 1960's, Denver folks a century ago started coming south to Englewood to check out the Cherrelyn novelty. Denver folks would pay a nickle to ride the unusual Englewood trolley, and then they would spend an afternoon shopping our streets and visiting our amusement park and theater and other local attractions.
Today, the Denver Light Rail and RTD bus system still makes critical stops in Englewood. The station right outside our door is the second busiest transportation hub in Colorado, second only to downtown Denver. Folks still come down the lines to shop and be entertained in our city, and local teams still rise to the challenge of creating life in the shadow of Denver.
We at The Center celebrate the colorful history of our community, and we embrace visitors from around the metro area who visit to enjoy free movies in our theater, club meetings in our big living room, and parties across the bar counter of our kitchen. And, as a team, we embrace the challenges of ever-changing life, and the opportunities of each new year.
If you've never been through our doors, perhaps it's time to make a visit? The old original Cherrelyn horse car has been restored, and it sits just 50 steps away from our front door in the Englewood Library and City Hall atrium. The Cinderella City indoor fountain has been replaced by a huge outdoor Christmas tree.
And the team that built the Cherrelyn Line has been replace by our new team.
And we still declare to the world the same message:
"NO, it does NOT end in Englewood... fun starts in Englewood!"
The outdoor Christmas lights in front of our door at City Center are magical this year! Our team was passing out popcorn when the city tree was lit Nov. 26th, and we gave out hundreds of boxes of popcorn again during the Christmas parade that ended at our doors on Dec. 1st. Everything in this picture, and MUCH MORE, was all once under the enormous roof of the 3-storey Cinderella City Shopping Mall.
In cooperation with the Alexan City Center management, we recently distributed a survey to 438 apartments in the complex within which we are located. It was amazing how many residents indicated that they do not know the names of ANY of their neighbors, and how many folks are looking for ways to make connections and to feel like they are part of a community.
We at CityCenter Community believe in community, and we are dedicated to making connections by building relationships. We are making the investment, and we are experiencing the returns.
Our calendar lists some opportunities for making connections... come, join us... make it happen!
JoAnn is investing her Time, her Talents, and her Treasures to help City Center flourish as
one of the best neighborhoods in the city. Connections are being made at the Light Rail Station!
"OPEN" ... is not always that simple .... CenterPointDave@aol.com
How many times have you grabbed a door and pulled ... yet NOT felt it budge an inch?
Perhaps the door was locked, or maybe it was just a door designed to open "in" instead of "out."
Some folks miss a lot by only pulling on knobs and never just giving some doors a little push in.
Some of us miss a lot by locking our doors, or by sticking with doors that require really hard shoves.
- - -
Looking out over the crowd through our "OPEN" sign during a summer concert, I wondered how many of those hundreds of guests in the audience would ever pass through our doors. That's when we started using a door stopper to prop open our entrance, and that's when we moved our FREE POPCORN table just a few feet inside our threshold.
We didn't see any drop in the number of hundreds of boxes of popcorn and bottles of water we gave away each night, but we began to have more and better conversations with our neighbors!
Nobody had to pull -- or push -- to get inside. They just wandered in and out freely. But once inside,
they tended to linger. There was something nice about the company... some kind of difference between being with the vast crowd outside vs. the intimate community inside.
In a perfect world, I might just take the doors off their hinges and blur the lines of in and out (and open and closed) forever!
Our Center sponsored the first Englewood "Sounds of Summer" concert on June 16, and without the help of our full team and some fresh new volunteers, we never could have done it.
Appox. 300 bags of popcorn in three hours (special thanks to Joyce & Gary on the popper), and wonderful help at our "Sponsor's Tent" (see below) that was located right outside our front door.
"A Great Good Place ....
One of our goals at City Center Community is to create a "Great Good Place."
Over 100 years ago, Henry James coined this phrase for a short story he published in Scribner's Magazine.
Scroll down to READ MORE....
In the story, a weary man named George Dane discovers a place --and a state of mind-- where the weight and worries of a hectic and stressed-out life
melt away in the comfort and fellowship of friends.
A ground-breaking book by Ray Oldenburg was published in 1989 with the title:
"The Great Good Place - Cafés, coffee shops, community centers, beauty parlors, general stores, bars, hangouts and how they get you through the day." Oldenburg's work inspired a wild rush of fresh sociological research, conferences and related publications, perhaps most notably his own follow-up work of 2001 entitled:
"Celebrating the Third Place - Inspiring Stories about the 'Great Good Places' at the Heart of Our Communities."
Today, many people are now familiar with the Oldenburg paradigm:
1st Places ... are living places -- your house, your mobile home, your dorm bedroom, your apartment ....
2nd Places ... are work places -- where we clock in and punch time cards, meet with clients, run a drill press ....
3rd Places ... are optional "other" places that take the meaning and quality of our lives to higher levels.
Third places are, as Oldenburg likes to say, critically important gathering hubs where "the magical combination of comfort, familiarity, and good company" transform an ordinary hangout into a location and experience that we eagerly return to time and again to relax, socialize, exchange ideas, cry, laugh ... and perhaps even to become more fully human than we ever once thought possible.
City Center Community is emerging as a fascinating Third Place, a sort of "Community Living Room."
Come check this place out ... come join us. Bring who you are, and help us become ... an even Better Good Place.
The above scans come from my original copy of the Henry James story as published in 1900.
Our Newest "Staff" Addition... is NOT a "REAL" Rockies Fan !
She does not complain about the endless hours her "man" sits waiting for the next Rockies home run, but our lovely new City Center "lady" is not a real fan ... she's another mannequin purchased on ebay!
CenterPoint Prayer Room .... CenterPointDave@aol.com
Folks have been asking about the "Sacred Prayer Room" at City Center Community,
so here's the scoop:
Yes, the Community Center is for EVERY ONE, regardless of faith. We have "regulars" and visitors every week who come from every background imaginable. Buddhist, Muslim, New Age, Christian, Atheist ... we are here to build community and bless all who come through our doors!
But it is no secret that what compels us to be here to serve is a belief in a living God who loves the world and calls us to do the same. In fact, we believe that Jesus lived such a life and showed us how to do the same... including how to "hook up" with the Living God who Jesus called "Abba."
Prayer is a time and means for connecting with God in a special way. The Prayer Room (a quiet little "set aside" space in the back of our Community Center) provides opportunities for anyone who seeks such encounters. Many of us have prayed for many hours in this room, and we have prayed over this room for all who enter (and we have even anointed it with oil), all in faith that God does listen, and that God longs for all of humanity to grow in deepening connection with the mysteries and mercies of the Holy Spirit.
Candles, tapestries, crosses, art and a kneeling bench are among the furnishings of this room, all designed to help facilitate a sense of holy atmosphere where guests and the Holy Host may quietly spend time together.
Feel free, if ever in the area, to check it out. Better yet, give it a try ... check yourself in!
ABOVE: The Prayer Room ... a work in progress ... for all of us who are ourselves "works in progress."
I love this season of Lights! .......... CenterPointDave@aol.com
Call me a Christmas junkie, but when the sun starts setting at 4:30 PM, I come alive. It becomes a battle of Dark vs. Lights... and in my world, the Light wins! (See far below for a picture of my house!)
Much ... CRAZY MUCH ... has happened in the past few weeks. The short version: we signed the lease, moved in, set up "shop," and have begun doing our best to bless the City with FREE MOVIES!
Our grand opening on Dec. 4th was a HUGE success. Family holiday films ran all afternoon, building to a mention of our new theater community from the center stage microphone by Mayor Jim Woodward at the lighting of the Englewood City Tree. Then a full-house crowd gathered for a Dr. Seuss classic Christmas tale. We passed out hundreds of bags of Free Popcorn throughout the day, and our Free Community Theater proved itself to be cozy, safe... and delightfully fully operational.
THANK YOU ... to all ye Friends of City Center Community!
Your donations of furniture, time, talents, prayers and goods has made all the difference in getting us launched so well on such short notice! Gifts included everything from cash donations for our AV equipment to Christmas decorations and mannequins for the window sets. May God bless you richly for your investments in this amazing adventure!
Thanks to your generosity, we now have perhaps the most unique "living room" in Englewood!
Thanks for stopping by!
In case we've not yet met, I date back over 23 years in Englewood... back to the days of Cinderella City Mall, long before these exciting new times at City Center Piazza. In the coming months, I'll be building this web site and blog ... and perhaps (with your help?) building a fresh sense of community in and around the Englewood Light Rail Station at City Center.
My old Victorian house (below) is a short walk from City Center, but my new storefront home (above) is: Suite 112, 901 Englewood Parkway.
Stop in and say hi. I'm at the Englewood Light Rail Station, just down the stairs... below the trains!
We are a non-profit, so we are only open by the grace of God and the generosity of our supporters. To date, in alphabetical order, here's a partial listing of support that we've received: Dan & Lynda Anderson - our neon sign / Audrey Cheadle - eight giant poinsettias / Faith Community Church - substantial tentative pledges for 2011 / First Assemblies Church of Englewood - Ping-Pong table / Frame de Art II, Hart Family - foosball table / Joanne & Richard Glasman - critical seed money / Harvest Christian Community - essential release time and support / HOPE House of Prayer in Englewood - substantial prayer support / members of Immanuel Lutheran Church - boxes of holiday decorations, furniture and two Christmas trees / The Journey Church - iMac computer / Chris & Sam Morgan - substantial support for rent and utilities / Joe & Laurel Petro - Mannequin / David Rasby - recliner chair / Reformed Church in America - substantial tentative pledges for 2011 / Roma Rinzema - Circus Popcorn Cart and Supplies /
Saint James Urban Church, Steve, John, Elders - amazing cash donations! / Clark Scholten - AV theater projection system / Schutte Family - cash gift / Lynda & Marty Schutter - critical seed money / Springs Community Church - substantial tentative pledges for 2011
.... etc.! Thank you also to volunteers and helpers like Daryl Kinton, Bob Brinkman, Jim & Susan Krietler, Jim Veraldi, and Ed Moore who've assisted with painting, cleaning, popcorn distribution, covering shifts, etc.!
If you are feeling led to make a contribution or to get involved, please contact: CenterPointDave@aol.com