Carol Howard Merritt reflects on church reinvention
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The people at Friendship Church make creative use of art. They have also learned to be creative as they form their community and shape their narratives.
James Lee had been commissioned to start an African-American congregation. After reading Acts, his group decided on a multicultural plant instead.
One day, a soup-kitchen guest named what was happening: church, a worshiping community distinct from the larger congregation.
"Why go to the city?" asked one of Bec Cranford-Smith's seminary professors. "There are enough new churches there."
As I sat in a circle of church planters discussing ministry, a stream of confession emerged: "I've made a lot of mistakes."
"Co-creating is a lot of fun," says Jenn DiFrancesco. She and her Slate Project colleagues don’t show the same sort of weariness church planters often display a couple years in.
SFTS understands that the church is in the midst of a transformation. Its new center aims to meet new challenges—and to welcome institutional change.
Sanctuary of the Arts was started by Jeff Cheifetz and Amy Shoemaker. Their work reminds me that we don't have experiences separate from our bodies.
When Jeff Richards paints a picture of church in downtown Sacramento, the church doesn't tower over the other buildings. It inhabits them.
Under Ruben Duran's leadership, the ELCA has started an array of worshiping communities in homes and bars and on the streets and in train stations.
Mercy Junction has a dedicated group of people, but it's not financially self-sustaining. Recently, it started managing a large church building.
The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship board knew it had a choice: build an institution, or build a movement.
As new forms of congregations arise, new musical forms are developing. Walls are coming down—secular vs. sacred, intellect vs. emotion, contemporary vs. traditional.
Carol Howard Merritt is author of Tribal Church and cohost of God Complex Radio. Her blog is hosted by the Century.
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