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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: Asheville

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April 18, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Keeping the faith in Asheville: Politically, economically, and spiritually

In the town of Asheville, North Carolina, we found a compelling partnership that links the local faith-based community with civic projects involving stakeholders in business, the arts, education, and the public sector.

Time to Revive founder Kyle Martin at Revive Asheville on April 16, 2012. (Photograph by Elizabeth Wiley/UW Election Eye)

Time to Revive founder Kyle Martin at Revive Asheville on April 16, 2012. (Photograph by Elizabeth Wiley/UW Election Eye)

ASHEVILLE — This quaint and quirky town nestled in the Appalachian Mountains reminds me of Bellingham, my hometown. There is an inviting combination of sun-splashed historic brick buildings, locally-sourced restaurants with sidewalk dining, and charming storefronts. The warm spring weather (near the shooting location for The Hunger Games!) made me think of a summer day back home.

In exploring the town, what immediately caught my eye — besides a male nun pedaling a gigantic bicycle with golden handlebar streamers — were clusters of people wearing Carolina-blue shirts.They were everywhere, they were ready to chat, and they were more than willing to give us a few hours of their time over the two days we were in Asheville.

I quickly learned most of them were out-of-town visitors, taking part in Revival Asheville. Between April 16 and 22, Pack Square Park is home to Revive Asheville, a centerpiece of a movement known as Time to Revive, founded by Kyle Martin and supported by over 400 volunteers from 13 states. Guided by their Christian faith, Time to Revive volunteers connect with targeted local communities through intentional acts of outreach and bridge building — city ambassadors if you will.

Time to Revive was founded in 2009, but the movement started three years earlier in Dallas, I learned while interviewing Martin under his group’s enormous white tent in the park. Fresh off a 40-day juice fast, Martin looked like he could stand to drink a milkshake or seven.

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