Are there any religious institutions within any of the neighborhoods of Durham, NC? The answer is a resounding yes. The East Durham Vital Worship Movement (EDVWM) is a group of churches that collaborate to bring worship to their community. This home was initially purchased by local congregations many years ago to reclaim it from the hands of local drug dealers and to help Walltown residents live in a safer, less dangerous neighborhood. Through learning experiences, reflection times, and collaborative worship services, the EDVWM seeks to cultivate worship that listens to the community and responds to the people and realities of its East Durham neighborhood. The building houses Walltown Neighborhood Ministries, a group of 5 neighborhood churches and students from the Duke School of Theology that was formed in 1996 to help defend and provide services to the neighborhood.
In acts of worship beyond the walls of the Chapel, the Chapel community is sent to pray with their hands and feet seeking the well-being of Durham in partnership with non-profit organizations, churches, and neighborhoods, as well as fostering relationships across social, cultural, and political divisions. You may not think that a neighborhood ministry is something useful in YOUR neighborhood, but it can be quite beneficial in a place like Walltown, where many residents attend local churches and value assistance that takes a religious form. While I understand, appreciate and respect that these places are intended to help neighbors and “clean” an area, I don't see how they end up changing a neighborhood in the long run. If you think that this neighborhood store, which by all accounts was a hub of illegal activity in the area, was going to instantly turn into a vintage clothing store (and that store would somehow succeed), you're fooling yourself. Obviously you have some kind of resentment; I was wondering why so many historic buildings end up being Ministries or New Life Spiritual Centers or institutions of that kind, rather than some business such as a popular local pub or restaurant that Durham in its heyday was so well known for. The truth is that I wasn't trying to impress anyone, Anonymous, but I was curious to know why the institutions that founded this neighborhood would be unnecessarily insulted at a time when the large Durham community was content to abandon it in the hands of drug trafficking and violence. In conclusion, there are indeed religious institutions within some of the neighborhoods of Durham, NC. The East Durham Vital Worship Movement (EDVWM) is one such example.
This group of churches works together to connect worship with their community and provide services to local residents. While it may not be immediately obvious how these institutions change a neighborhood in the long run, they are still important for providing assistance and support to those who need it.