Indianapolis church invests $5M in east side community, including affordable housing and grocery store

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – One of the biggest churches in Indianapolis is serving the community far beyond its Sunday worship service. Eastern Star Church is in the midst of completing the ROCK initiative, a robust program full of community resources.

"But now we're making a concerted effort with the ROCK initiative, renewing our community for the kingdom, to really go out and physically develop and bring resources to the community right here in 46218 that they otherwise wouldn't have," said Anthony Murdock, executive pastor.

The ROCK initiative addresses four key areas in the community, like increased housing options. In the past year, the church built 10 homes next to its 30th Street campus. And a block away you'll find Sunstone at Arlington Woods--25 affordable housing units that include brand new one- and two-bedroom apartments.

The church members want the public to know they're here in a major way.

"Don't be afraid of the process. With it being our goal of renewing our community for the kingdom, it's all based off of empathy and walking with someone to good quality," said Ashley Gurvitz, community development manager.

Below the apartments, the entire community can take advantage of an array of resources, such as a credit union and a behavioral health center for children. A community hub that's still under construction will house multiple businesses from hair salons to re-entry programs. And the Rock Fresh Market is now one of the only grocery stores in this neighborhood that was federally declared a food desert.

"It does cause me to ask what is the hesitation of investing in 46218. Why are grocery stores leaving?" asked Jeffrey Johnson, lead pastor.

Johnson says after meeting with city partners and community members that the project was about filling in the gap in the same neighborhood that raised him.

"There have been neighbors who've poured into my life coming out of a broken home and my mom raised four of us by herself and some of those same families are still here who poured into me, so it's really an honor to come back and help the people and the families that helped me to make it," he said.

There are still housing units available for rent below market price.  With the help of its congregation and community partners, Eastern Star Church has invested $5 million in the 46218 zip code since last year. For more information on those resources, visit the church website here