A Place of Hope
This video is available for purchase as part of a Precious Places Community History Project Vol.1 compilation DVD.
Oxford Circle had been a predominantly white neighborhood for decades before the 1990s. Once a suburb of Philadelphia known as "Old Village," Oxford Circle is a neighborhood in the Northeast section of the city that is in the midst of a demographic transition. Oxford Circle Mennonite Church is at the forefront of the community's efforts to come to grips with the changing landscape as African American, Indian, and Latino families have increasingly come to call the neighborhood home. The area is "at a crossroads," says Leonard Dow, the church's pastor. "Something good could happen, in that this community can be a place where those differences are there but people can live beside each other—or a crisis can happen." However, Dow and the Oxford Circle Mennonite church members interviewed for this video do not see a crisis anywhere on the horizon. The church is, they say, a primary reason that the community has come together, choosing to embrace the new face of the increasingly diverse community instead of resisting it. Although the neighborhood will likely continue to change, residents both old and new are finding a new sense of community in Oxford Circle.