Sign up for Cooking Nights, Homework Club, and ESOL here.
Partnering to Love and Serve Our City
During our church’s rebranding season, the neighborhood team spent time reflecting on who we are in our community and who we want to become. Formerly known as Vineyard Community Offerings, our team has an incredible legacy of building relationships with the people who live and work in North Cambridge, and we want to continue to be deeply embedded in the neighborhood network. We are thankful the way that Soccer Nights and our other programming communicate our care for our city. We are widely recognized as a church that loves our neighbors, as evidenced by the public schools, the police, and neighbors seeking our partnership for events and needs in North Cambridge.
As we build on this legacy, we hope our new identity as Reservoir in the City will both be a symbolic and substantial move to better serve and receive from our neighborhood in a spirit of joyful reciprocity. We are focusing our attention less on our “offerings” and more on building partnerships with those around us, joining people and organizations that are doing great work in Cambridge, and empowering our neighbors to become partners in projects that we work on together. Examples of this include: Soccer Nights Crew, where Soccer Nights alumni learn to coach their younger peers; Garden Club, where a neighborhood mom teaches young kids how to grow vegetables from Bangladesh; and Community Fest, where youth and staff from the nearby Gately Youth Center deejay our music. As we work to build sustainable and mutually edifying partnerships with the people around us, we really will become better together.
Sledding and soccer, cakes and cucumbers, homework and hanging out:
oh what fun to play, partner, and love in North Cambridge!
Our 6th annual Soccer Nights Harvest Party is happening soon! It’s a chance to celebrate all of our kids and families who love and support Soccer Nights.
Saturday, November 7
Greater Boston Vineyard
170 Rindge Ave., Cambridge MA
Volunteer Shifts: 1-4pm and 3-6pm
Interested in volunteering? We'd love to have you help throw this party! Please fill out this short Google Form to let us know your availability and volunteer preferences.
We’re excited for this neighborhood festivity and hope to see you there!
We’ve had perfect fall days for Soccer Sundays: brisk, sunny, and breezy, the best kinds of days to be out playing with friends. A few parents have been joining their kids for our scrimmage time, and we love spending time with our North Cambridge families and neighbors.
On a recent Sunday, the kids shared one word to describe their Soccer Sunday experience. Here is a snapshot in words and pictures of our time on Russell Field:
Goal! Fun. Blocking.
Perseverance. Snack! Running.
Passing! Tie. Kicking.
As the kids describe, it has been a great season so far, and we look forward to a few more sunny Sunday afternoons this fall and a reunion at the Harvest Party.
Have you ever thought about volunteering with VCO? Here’s veteran volunteer Sheila Hauck’s story.
How did you initially get involved with VCO?
When I first moved to the Boston area in 2000, I worked a time consuming job as a medicinal chemist, but I always wanted to because I felt that God had blessed my life so much, and I wanted to give back to the community. A few years ago, I found I had extra time, and when my friend, Sue Rosenkranz, told me about Cooking Nights, I decided it was a good time to get involved. Since then, I have found it so rewarding that even though I don’t have as much free time any more, I have continued to volunteer with VCO.
What has motivated you to volunteer for so many VCO programs?
One of the most rewarding things about volunteering is that it gives me chance to get to know the children and it really is fun spending time with them. Plus, it has been wonderful learning about other cultures and meeting other people in our community.
What advice do you have for people who feel they don’t have time to volunteer?
If someone does not have the time to volunteer, I would suggest start out doing something small: come once for a few hours. That is not a big time commitment, but it would give one an idea of what it is like. By the way, we can use a little help with Homework Club if anyone wants to try it out!
What keeps you involved in VCO?
I stay involved because I have gotten to know some of the children, and I miss them when I do not see them. Plus, as I said previously, I have experienced so much of God’s blessing and love in my life, and I think it is important to do something, regardless how big or small, to give to others.
What is a favorite VCO experience of yours?
I don't know that I have a "favorite" experience, but the children can be entertaining and they do make me laugh!
You live in Lincoln. Do you ever feel conflicted about not doing volunteer work in your own neighborhood?
I do not feel that there is a conflict. My goal is to build community in whatever neighborhood I am in. There are things that I can do with VCO in Cambridge that I cannot do in the suburbs, but there are other things that I can do with my neighbors in Lincoln such as have dinner with them, that I can’t do with the kids in Cambridge. It is about loving our neighbors, whoever they are, isn’t it?
What does it mean to hear another? What does it mean to see?
All of those faces you pass on your walk to work, all of those folks on the T with headphones in their ears, the nameless, the blurred faces, the stranger.
What if a day is nothing more than a chance to say hello and see what happens? What if a day is nothing but a gift to hear the story behind the headphones, to see the person behind the stranger?
Armed with a pot of coffee and a plate of donuts, we took the city up on its offer of a parking spot on Mass Ave. as a chance to say hello to our neighbors. Some hellos became conversations, and some strangers became people with a story: a dad who is so proud of his daughter with a full-time job, a librarian who believes that reading out loud can change lives, a cyclist who builds signs to point people to beautiful places, an investment banker who wants to save the Arctic.
Who knew these stories dwelt inside strangers? We had no idea, until we said hello.
VCO was one of 60 groups to participate in Cambridge PARK(ing) Day, a chance for local businesses and organizations to transform a parking spot into a way to connect with the community.
It’s been a busy fall here at VCO. Take a peek at what we’ve been doing: cupcakes at Cooking Nights, growing food at Garden Club, and posing for a silly photobooth at Back to School Night at the Fresh Pond Apartments.
As many of you know, Kaiti Jones has enrolled in a Masters of Social Work program at Boston College. Here are her thoughts as she transitions to the next season of her life.
Working with VCO these past five years changed me. It awakened me to my vocation of holistic community development, which I’m now excited to pursue in a new way in graduate school, and it taught me things I will keep close to my heart, vision, and work for my whole life. The lessons are many, but here are a short few:
God is a fantastic creator. People are beautiful, and many don’t look or sound or think like me. This is not only ok, but it is essential.
Everyone is a gardener. We all want a patch of life to tend and to help grow. In community development, my garden – my ideas, my projects– should only exist in so far as they make room for and even build up my neighbors’ gardens. The initiatives I started that were simply my own
brainchild often failed, while the gardens we all tended together have lasted.
Grace is imperative. I can’t count the awkward situations I’ve found myself in through the years when I said or did the wrong thing in a situation with my neighbors. With the beauty of diversity comes a propensity for misunderstanding and with that a deep need for grace. It’s a good thing to
lavish and to accept.
Love without agenda. In a results-driven world, this has been difficult for me at times. In reality, it’s a freeing truth - I love my neighbors because God has loved me, because God loves them, and because He has imbued in me His Spirit and with that the capacity to love a
little bit beyond myself.
Thanks to each of you for being the people who have taught me these lessons, and for
loving our neighborhood so well with your time, hands, pockets, and hearts. I’ll be seeing you!
Arianne Graham is a veteran VCO volunteer who helps run the ever-popular Cooking Nights. Here she answers a few questions about her experience:
What has motivated you to volunteer for VCO programming?
I remember in 2011 someone (maybe Kaiti) spoke from up front about Soccer Nights. It seemed like a lot of fun and an easy way to get to know and love my neighbors in Cambridge, so I jumped in with enthusiasm. Since then, I've also volunteered with Homework Club and Cooking Nights, which was started by my friend Sue Rosenkrantz.
What advice do you have for someone who feels they don’t have time to volunteer?
Newsflash: Life is not going to get any less hectic as time goes on, so why not get involved now? I think of volunteering as a pre-made decision; besides, I have never once shown up and regretted it. If anything, the experience just gets better and better. Even if you can only volunteer once a month or once in awhile, let people know you're willing and when you are available. There's always something you can contribute.
What keeps you involved in VCO?
Definitely the relationships - both with our neighbors and with other volunteers. No matter what I might be going through in work or in my personal life, I know I can show up to volunteer and find joy in the midst.
What is a favorite VCO experience of yours?
I'm really proud that the popularity of Cooking Nights helped VCO build a new partnership and to bring the program to a second building at 402 Rindge Ave. All of a sudden we got to know a whole new group of kids!
You live in Somerville. Do you ever feel conflicted about not doing volunteer work in your own neighborhood?
Not at all. A neighbor is a neighbor is a neighbor. Building relationships is so much bigger than neighborhoods or city limits.