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Our new home

By Bontu Gemeda

Formerly the New Jerusalem Baptist Church, now the home of Rondo Ave. Inc. (ca. 2014)

 

The former New Jerusalem Baptist Church is home to Rondo Avenue Inc. and is adjacent to the Rondo Commemorative Plaza. As the former church is being renovated to provide a community space as well as office space for the staff.

As the changes for the New Jerusalem Baptist Church has begun, it’s important to reflect on the importance of spirituality in the Rondo community.

Spirituality played an important role in the daily lives of Rondo residents. The church remained the center of the daily life and provided space and services for residents. Church’s historically provided spaces for empowering African Americans. Churches like Pilgrim Baptist Church provided ex-slaves from the South with sanctuary in Minnesota territory towards the end of the Civil war.  Churches continued to play a pivotal role in the social lives in African Americans across the country especially into the 1950s and 1960s as churchgoers used community spaces to discuss pertinent political issues such as civil right and in Rondo, the building of the highway. Churches became the epicenter for group strategizing but also comfort. The highway may have destroyed Rondo Neighborhood, but their spirit lives on. 

With the new Rondo Avenue Inc. setting up shop in a once old and decrepit church, it is with the reverence that we celebrate what Rondo was and with hope, celebrate what it will be.

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