The Cross Orlando is a congregation of people living under the reign of God. We gather together regularly, we're working in all sectors of our city and are always looking for ways to better care for each other. But a great first step in meeting us, is to check out these blogs that our folks manage.

Polis Institute

The Four-Fold Benefit of POLIS

by Phil Hissom

The Polis Institute (POLIS) is an applied research non-profit that was founded to improve the way we help one another. Our mission is to champion human dignity by designing solutions to the social problems that infringe upon it. We envision a world in which most people enjoy the fruit of their labors in long and...

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Polis Institute

Join Us For Giving Tuesday 2017

by Pam Amundsen

  is an annual, international day of giving that takes place this year on November 28, 2017. We believe in the value of Collective Impact. Our experience alone is worth very little. It is only when we partner with others, learn from them, and share this experience that it becomes valuable. One of the ways...

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Polis Institute

Register for Leadership Eatonville

by Pam Amundsen

Leadership Eatonville is a six-session workshop series for town residents that will enhance community leadership and entrepreneurial skills. Each participant will select a specific community initiative – existing or new – to work on using the principles and practical tips learned in the sessions. Workshop series is free for Eatonville residents. Non-residents may apply and...

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Polis Institute

The Value of Play

by Shawn Welcome

It’s the summer of 1966 at the University of Texas: A typical college campus day with young adults strolling across the courtyard, chatting about the latest hot topics, loosely clutching textbooks in the heat, and perhaps fewer students than normal due to it being a summer session. Claire Wilson James and John Fox are names...

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terazzo, coffee, and kids

organic

by Ben

  I’ve learned that systems take more energy than dreams. But that’s OK, some things are worth working for. Last week I ended up in a meeting where a dude who consults with churches to help them clarify and execute a vision was presenting to me and some friends. Sort of off hand he said … Continue reading organic

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Polis Institute

Placemaking Through Artistic Expression

by Shawn Welcome

Back in 2006, I started an open mic in Orlando, FL called “Diverse Word.” I was a 23-year-old idealist who thought my city could use some diversity within the art of spoken word poetry. It became a success in terms of vision actualized, attendance, and the profit it brought to the local café that hosted...

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Polis Institute

Curb Cutting: How Solving Problems for One Group Helps us All

by Shawn Welcome

The Polis Institute is a non-profit organization that aims to remove the barriers that prevent experiencing long, healthy, fruitful and dignified lives. Many of these barriers stem from concentrated poverty, but there are additional barriers, both physical and metaphoric, that manifest in a variety of ways. We at POLIS use and develop research around the...

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terazzo, coffee, and kids

alternate reality

by Ben

We’re living in a world where Jesus is alive. So much more is possible. In a world where we so often feel limited by money or pain or cruelty, it’s hard to remember what’s real: for the people of God, Jesus defines reality. The God of the universe is in your corner. He went into … Continue reading alternate reality

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Polis Institute

Stanley Needs a Job

by Phil Hissom

I know a guy named Stanley who needs a job. He’s in his forties and does not have a great resume or work ethic. He has some health problems. He seems to get hurt on the job a lot and has tried to sue more than one employer. He quit high school in the 10th...

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terazzo, coffee, and kids

Number2

by Ben

  This past weekend, I took our Number2 kid to the movies, there was a scene with the main girl growing up. The reality of the perpetual motion of life hit me. Life moves. Things go well and things go poorly, but either way they go. Forward. Today becomes yesterday, and yesterday fades. People get … Continue reading Number2

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terazzo, coffee, and kids

A New Year

by Ben

There’s nothing divine about our calendar dates. So, in one sense,  New Year’s Day is just another day to be faithful to God. But in another sense, it’s a new start. I’ve been really feeling that this year, that it’s an opportunity to start again. That’s probably part of the reason I want to share … Continue reading A New Year

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Polis Institute

MVP Families: Family Highlight

by Pam Amundsen

Barbara and her daughter are one of our core MVP Families. They look forward to every meeting and haven’t missed a single one. Last week, when Barbara didn’t get the reminder text for the upcoming meeting when she expected it, she called our Family Engagement Coordinator, Shawn, to make sure everything was on track and...

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Polis Institute

Helping Residents Pursue Their Own Goals

by Phil Hissom

One of the most important aspects of a life well-lived is the discovery and pursuit of one’s own goals and aspirations. For those of us who practice Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD), this is a fundamental part of the work – helping residents of a small geographic area leverage their skills and networks to realize their...

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Polis Institute

The Most Strategic Philanthropic Investment

by Phil Hissom

The most strategic philanthropic investment in the U.S. goes towards revitalizing the distressed neighborhoods that are the source of most of our social issues. These neighborhoods are also full of people with aspirations and talents. Philanthropist and businessman Tom Cousins said it this way, “America’s greatest untapped resource is the human capital trapped in neighborhoods of concentrated...

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emsneighborhoodkitchen

Fresh Holidays

by Emily Harkins

It is November...my favorite month of the year. That time when you can still make it to the beach to keep that golden tan, but you can also sit outside in the evening wearing a long-sleeved shirt. It's also my birth month, so I'm a little biased there. I'm thinking about Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's today - all of the great parties, time to catch up with neighbors and relax with co-workers. The time of year when you are constantly practicing gratitude for all you've been blessed

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emsneighborhoodkitchen

Sangria Sundays

by Emily Harkins

My husband and I had a great day yesterday. He's a surfer so we got up early and spent a few hours at New Smyrna Beach in the morning. I wasn't quite ready to go back to Orlando and give up on the beautiful day yet, so I suggested we drive north to St. Augustine to see how they were faring a few weeks after Hurricane Matthew. Other than some lingering debris and a few waterfront hotels and homes still boarded up, on the surface everything looked great. I guess you don't get to be America's

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emsneighborhoodkitchen

A No-Regrets Wedding

by Emily Harkins (Weidner)

I got married ten days ago after planning my wedding for no less than TWENTY FIVE YEARS! Yes, neighbors, I'm going to be the one to admit that I had a Pinterest page for my wedding even before I was engaged...worse, even before I met Donny Harkins, the love of my life. I planned before I was supposed to, then I planned some more, and worried, drove Don nuts, giggled with my girlfriends, budgeted with my parents, and finally that day arrived. October 15, 2016. And guess what? I REGRET NOTHING.

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terazzo, coffee, and kids

narratives

by Ben

The church folks of Jesus day accused him of being a drunkard and a glutton. It’s mentioned a lot, but is still worth considering: the “respectable” people came to Jesus only under the cover of night or in extreme crises if at all. It was the working class; the poor and marginalized who were most … Continue reading narratives

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terazzo, coffee, and kids

Light for the World

by Ben

I don’t know why he waits. He has answers. He has full joy and impenetrable peace. Yet, somewhere he sits, knows our situation and waits. Times like today, I don’t know why. When hate, having prowled in the night has found a wiling host. When anger has multiplied and met with just enough power for destruction. When ignorance … Continue reading Light for the World

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terazzo, coffee, and kids

tap on.

by Ben

may the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you follow him, I saw this text today. There’s something compelling to me about the sequence of those words. God of hope, fill you with joy and peace, That clause is followed by this one: so that you may overflow with hope by the power … Continue reading tap on.

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terazzo, coffee, and kids

world domination.

by Ben

  I had an interesting conversation earlier this week where I found myself explaining how sometimes I feel like church culture in America has reduced evangelism to spiritual recruitment. In some situations the goal of the church becomes getting more followers of Jesus, by way of getting more people into their programs. All the effort of Church … Continue reading world domination.

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terazzo, coffee, and kids

open doors.

by Ben

I once had a professor tell me that the most powerful point in the story of Christianity is the empty tomb. I understand what he meant. There is so much possibility there. The road away from that stone can go almost anywhere. Christ, walking around in the world with a glorified body means we’re no … Continue reading open doors.

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terazzo, coffee, and kids

build it.

by Ben

where would you go if you could? I’m talking about anywhere in the world or outside of it. what would you do? who would you bring with you? how long would you stay? would you ever come back? why? Lot’s of people smarter than me have made mention of the fact that Scripture starts with … Continue reading build it.

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