Rev. Fred Thelen walks through a Lansing neighborhood Saturday going door-to-door for the 'Action of Greater Lansing' group
Opportunity came knocking Saturday for residents in several Lansing-area communities.
The group "Action of Greater Lansing" took to the streets going door-to-door to talk to people about some of the most pressing issues facing their neighborhoods.
"It's part of our process of getting just real grass-roots input," said Rev. Fred Thelen, who was volunteering with the group.
"It's about meeting our neighbors and being able to build connections with them so that we can hear their voices and invite them to be a part of collaborating together."
Officially dubbed 'porch patrols,' teams of volunteers fanned out in four different neighborhoods across Lansing to conduct what they were calling 'sacred conversations.'
"A lot of times we read the paper or watch the news and think we know what the problems are," said Rev. Kit Carlson. "And you really don't until you actually go up to someone and say, you know, 'what's your issue?'"
All of the volunteers met up afterward to discuss their findings and what areas and issues they wanted to focus on going forward.
Many of the volunteers, like Valerie Smith, said they were surprised by the reception they received from many of the residents.
"Those who did open their doors and spoke to us wanted to be listened to, wanted to be heard," Smith said. "They welcomed us, they chit-chatted about other things that were important to them and it was a lot of fun."
Thelen said the goal now is to take what was learned through the conversations and apply them to things the group can take action on.
"It's about building relationships with people that we can work together with to create a greater measure of justice," he said. "Especially for people who are vulnerable and in need of more resources to have a full life."
The group will be meeting again at Cristo Rey Church in Lansing on June 18 to further discuss and report their findings. They are encouraging all to attend and provide their input.