Engaging Community: Sacramento Riverside UMC Designs Green Space Hub

March 06, 2020

Sacramento Riverside United Methodist Church, (RUMC), needed a new playground for the growing number of families with children joining their faith community. RUMC is located in metro Sacramento and continues to serve the primarily Asian immigrant community.

Church leaders began imagining beyond a playground and decided to design a multi-use outdoor community gathering space, a hub, for the church, the surrounding community and for partners who currently use RUMC facilities for meetings and events.

Henry Pablo, who serves as RUMC English Ministry Coordinator and is in his second year of seminary at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkley, CA, shared that it was important to involve the community from the very beginning.  He said, "Church leaders decided on a community based participatory approach to design so that the space would attract and involve our neighbors and partners."

Pablo was instrumental in preparing a grant proposal and the church was notified at the end of 2019 that they had been awarded a Municipal Utility District Shine Award of $5000 for their Outdoor Renewal Project which will serve children and families, youth and older adults and will be available for public events and gatherings.

The Outdoor Renewal Project will be produced in 3 phases. The first phase, community needs assessment, is currently underway. RUMC is engaging neighbors, local schools and partners to create the green space design to insure it will be a hub for the community. Construction is set to begin in August 2020.

RUMC leadership is continuing a rich tradition of community engagement and service, not only through the Outdoor Renewal Project, but throughout the fabric of church life.  There are 2 services each Sunday, one in Cantonese and one in English. Pablo leads the English service. They provide classes in Mandarin for children and youth to strengthen cultural heritage as well as ESL classes for youth and older adults. 

Click here to learn more about RUMC and stay connected as the Outdoor Renewal Project unfolds.