For more than 30 years, Tom Roddy presided over the Atlanta Resource Foundation (ARF), which serves as a conduit for bringing people with resources, both monetary and time, together with those who are less fortunate. ARF offers a network aimed at engaging urban Christians to support empowerment instead of entitlement.
Roddy's major work has been to encourage people who in many different ways were bringing hope to those living in Atlanta's most difficult neighborhoods. Tom wrote a non-news newsletter about what was going on in the city and also inside of himself as he came up against the promises and demands of the gospel and the stark realities and disparities of urban life.
Journeying in one city for many decades, he has seen history repeat itself. The same personalities and the same issues keep popping up. There are economic booms and busts, the ongoing displacement of the poor, rising rhetoric around immigrants, and the pull of a retaliatory response to terrorism. When Atlanta won the 1996 Summer Olympics, we were involved in the redevelopment of neighborhoods adjacent to the new Olympic Stadium, he writes. We helped mobilize the faith community to welcome visitors to Atlanta. We created the Summerhill Neighborhood Redevelopment Association and launched Quest Atlanta. Through it all, we could never escape the plight of the poor, especially the homeless.
In this group of essays, he shares his observations and offer insights gleaned from his years of experience.