“Everything is Local”. That now familiar phrase informs the way that Love Ottawa thinks about our city. In other words, the only way we will be able to measure whether transformation is actually happening is if we look at local neighbourhoods, or local businesses, or local agencies. We will only transform the whole city when we see each and every neighbourhood transformed.

The good news is that this makes the task very concrete and do-able. Most pastoral leaders don’t think they are called to shepherd a city of a million people. But they sense that God has placed them in local parishes and communities for divine purposes. This is the way pastoral work used to be done almost exclusively. One city-reaching leader says to pastors, “Your local church is God’s excuse to get you to work together for the benefit of your whole community.” In other words, when we move to a new city, we need to find the others who make up the team of spiritual leaders who should be taking responsibility for their neighbourhoods and communities.

More good news. Most neighbourhoods are identifiable. Our municipality has already done some work to profile them.

We are fortunate that we simply need to turn to the Ottawa Neighbourhood Studies that were created in the last couple of years to find out that there are 97 neighbourhoods in Ottawa. That becomes our starting point to think about mobilizing congregations and believers to walk together to transform their communities.