Today, in a meeting, someone commented on how the city is so fast, so much, so many.  He’s right.  I like that about the city.

Neal is my boss.  We both like the city.  Much of our work is in urban areas, something we are glad to be part of.

Lately, Neal has been playing one of his favorite themes.  That cities need diversity.  Not just ethnic/racial, but economic diversity.  Here in St Louis he feels that the Salvation Army, in which both of us serve, is doing something to help our city stay diverse.  MO_StLouis_TheRailton_p0148380_Sierro_6_PropertylogoAffordable housing is offered by the Army in the ‘workforce housing’ Railton on 18th Street, two blocks from Union Station.  At the Veterans’ Residence.  And the soon to be completed 3010 Apartments which will join the Veterans’ Residence in Midtown St Louis.Railton_Apartments_St__Louis_Kitchen_2

Why do cities need economic diversity?

“You can’t have a city of just rich people. A city needs restaurant workers, a city needs schoolteachers, a city needs taxi drivers.”  So says Kevin Starr.  People who “make the city run”.   Read more about what is happening in San Francisco in Erica Goode’s and Claire Cain Miller’s New York Times article Backlash by the Bay: Tech Riches Alter a City.  About the way that city is being changed by income disparities as tech workers move into San Francisco, forcing out longtime residents.

The Railton here is named after the first Salvation Army officer to work in St Louis.  George Scott Railton was part of William and Catherine Booth’s inner circle in Great Britain as they led a Salvation Army into existence.   Railton showed up in St Louis 134 years ago.  Failed in his mission.  Recalled to London in 1881.  9f568ee9-cfa3-42be-9cee-424f9e80c508_George_Railton

My favorite Railton quote?  In 1878 defending the Salvation Army against critics, he described it this way.  “Say many … you will become another sect.  What is a sect if not an association of people who separate from others for some reasons and purpose of their own?  But here is a vast organization of people moving at command to get closer and closer relationship to everybody.”

Closer and closer relationship to everybody.  The urban mission of God’s people, of which the Salvation Army is part, is to enjoy the so much, so fast, so many of the city.  So that all, together, will have a place in the city.