Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Next Church Gathering Day 3

The day began with a service of communion, led by McCormick alumni, might I add. YES I GOT TO GO TO SCHOOL WITH THESE WOMEN. Tweets were slow, respectful of the quiet and profound service.

@goffashley THIS IS WHAT I LOVE. #liturgy
@chris_corner Love God, Love Others, Do Stuff! We are The Body!
@ELSchemper Worship this AM beautiful mix of Presby/Reformed strengths: ordered, biblical, thoughtful, old, innovative, participatory
@awkukla From the remnants of that which bound us, new expressions of life, freedom, and grace are awakened.
@revfelipe “This is the table where we member ourselves” I’d totally worship here
@pulpit Liturgy questions: how is God opening ur eyes? Where r u experiencing God’s mercy? How about Gods [sic] grace?

And a professional pointer from a graduate of one of those other seminaries…

@mnewgale Apparently other seminaries aren’t teaching people not to ‘moon the congregation of the butt Jesus’ [sic] @CTSeminary J
@kimunc03 All are welcome at the #nextchurch2015 table! (Except those who are gluten free.) I'll plan to bring it next time y'all!

Ecumenical entertainment, naturally:
@ELSchemper Not a criticism, just an observation: Lutherans would have had us thorugh communion by now #efficient

Some folks left Wednesday morning and missed out on this.
@plocher Sad to be leaving early & missing worship & the final hours of #nextchurch2015. It’s been a fantastic few days of imagination & renewal!

And the love…
@billhabicht We had great speakers, but the best part of NEXT was the babies. Babies and new life always win.
@jodicraiglow Looking through the line of communers at #nextchurch2015 morning worship, I realize just how many people God has given me to love. (This from a person who had to go get her car out of the impound lot in the middle of the night!)

The staff kept having to work on that pesky livestream, too.
@flyballer ‪Guess it's just as well #nextchurch2015 live stream not working. I need to get other stuff done but hate to miss it.
@kate_taber maybe at the next Next we'll figure out livestream! miss you Presbys! off to toast you all from a rooftop in Jerusalem!

We moved on to the IGNITE presentations on race, concierge ministry, collaborative youth ministry
@fjinxshep Prophet, priest, pastor, poet: 4 ways to approach race (or any concern)
‪@TimRyanHughes ‪Drinking from the Bruce Reyes Chow fire hose!
‪@jodicraiglow ‪"I am being called into the exact place where I am living."
‪@jlreiff I'm a parent and a neighbor who just happens to be a pastor. - Tara
‪@ELSchemper ‪Presbyteries need to make sure they are open to the gifts at large TEs can bring. Some are some aren't
@Raveler1 The wombs of our community - education, transportation, healthcare. @miheekimkort Being at-large and freedom of connections. Do whatever you can to be the pastor. ‪@taraMdiva
‪@JamesSledge ‪"Who will you call?" Collaborative youth ministry or other ministry.
‏‪@LandonWhitsitt "Who will you call?" Ghostbusters, obviously.
@dearjohn84 Would love to know if there are other city/presbytery youth collectives out there doing what Tapestry and WUFPC are doing. 
‏‪@PastorEmilyH When you go back home, "Who will you call" to start collaborative efforts with other congregations?

And a concern about expanding our circle of care and concern…
‏‪@faith_ecology How do we integrate animal&plant flourishing in tapestry" A church is only as healthy as the community around it."

Great conversation by the last keynote, with many very excited about the implications, while others struggled with what they believed to be blatant paternalism.

‪@Raveler1 ‪This presentation is triggering "toxic charity" connections. it's good to help, but isn't it better to partner with local organizations and people?
‏‪@theleannem Talk about a microaggression... ‪#AfricanProverb?
@bookkats ‪@Raveler1@jasaface I like naming what we see. Citing the strengths and then addressing the probs
@erincounihan ‪George Srour: The church is getting lapped by secular orgs doing the work church had started. And they're doing it better.
‪@ajc123 ‪Is building schools the point...or sustaining education for all, partnering with God's work, & avoiding savior complex.
‏‪@revmamd Secular org's are often supported by religious folks. Does church really have 2 "do better" if we're a sent people? Legit ?
‏‪@miheekimkort Beware the nonprofit industrial complex. It perpetuates oppressive economic systems.
‪@jasaface ‪Time to talk toxic charity.
‪@beccamessman ‪I love that NEXT is reaching beyond the usual suspects in leadership and challenging church to think about results
‪@erincounihan ‪Meghan Gage-Finn asking the question everyone was thinking: How is this serving not selfserving white hero stuff? THANK YOU!

As for the concrete things people will bring home with them…

‏‪@taraMdiva Taking home: some steps towards reconciling with wounds and wounders + organizing community ministry 4fun!
‪@Raveler1 ‪What am I taking away? Hope that this really is the thinnest point - and that the awakening to come will pull us together
‪@dearjohn84 ‪@PastorEmilyH@BriBenzinger @ggbolt16 @bendfp wow! great connections & conversation on collab YM during the break! Thanks!
‪@Rob_Mus ‪And "Stand as you are able" vs. "Stand, if you are able"  Better yet: Show, don't tell: a warm gesture can speak volumes
‪@jlreiff ‪There are more than teaching and ruling elders here! #educatorsarechangeagentstoo
‪@empobycho ‪Take Away: to go out speaking truth in love.

The closing worship was moving; even as the crowd had thinned, the spirit was strong!
‪@amackey12 ‪I love being Presbyterian but watching us stand  still & clap during gospel songs cracks me up everytime. #frozenchosen
‪@jodicraiglow ‪Oh, my lands. A group of Presbies maintained 2/4 beat clapping for an entire song. #soproud
‪@PastorHallie ‪We wrote what holds us back. Used those papers to form a fence, and tore it down. And now, it flies!

We had important questions, of course.
@NEXTpcusa MT @jodicraiglow: Does @FourthChicago know how many donutholes #nextchurch2015 has eaten? / @revmamd alone has eaten at least eleventy-nine.
‪@jodicraiglow ‪God has been almost embarrassingly generous to the PCUSA;  any response other than gratitude would be foolish. -Tom Are
‏‪@jbonewald 'A lack of hope shows an inability to live in gratitude' - gonna have to ponder that for awhile
‪@kathleenhenrion ‪"Sometimes you just have to go with the Christians you've got."
‪@awkukla ‪We should not aspire to be a better church by getting better people.  We do not love someone because they are virtuous. TAre
‏‪@juanjsarmiento "Nothing kills the church so fast as trading the Christians we know for those we prefer" Rev Tom Are
‪@ScottClark01 ‪Do we belong to one another or are we just a collection of individuals?  Tom Are preaching
‪@Raveler1 ‪When I equate freedom with unencumbered choice, I am not free - but alone

For laughs, of course:
‏‪@RevJohnRussell I feel so marginalized by Tom Are's full head of hair. And yes, I will keep tweeting about it throughout the sermon.
‪@SarahDianne1230 ‪#nextchurch2015‪, it's been a blast! Now going to find an introvert corner in the airport to process all that I've seen and heard.

And some disagreement:
‪@LandonWhitsitt ‪No, I'm sorry: SBNR is not today's "Me and Jesus." We know too much about SBNRs to say that. That's an unfair claim.
‪@LandonWhitsitt ‪@lmcheifetz‪ Dunno, but he ignores that both Mill and SBNR is a response/reaction to tyranny.
‪@LandonWhitsitt ‪But, other than all that, I really liked Tom's thoughts on loneliness and friendship. I'd just have taken road to get there.

Thanks for a great event, #nextchurch2015 ! See you in 2016!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Next Church Gathering Day 2

The second day of the NEXT Church National Gathering was long. We learned a lot. It was joyful and hard and we have many things to take back to our ministries. Our conversations can become concrete.

We began with worship (well, some of us began with breakfast). Bagpipes kicked us off, which @Rev_AaronJWhite said, “Hearing ‘Brave Scotland’ playing on the bagpipes on St. Patrick’s Day! Bold move.” I said, “Free Scotland!” Sorry, St. Patrick’s Day (although so many people were sporting green that I think St. Patrick’s Day is well-represented).

@mnewgale I *love* singing The Church’s One Foundation in a sanctuary full of singers.
@PastorHallie “I’m sick of screens. I’m using the hymnal, damnit.”

And when Brian Ellison began to preach, the Twitterverse went wild.

@JoeGenau Will the church really have changed? I hope so…our very life as the body of Christ depends on it
@shanibah Grow up church: speak the truth in love.
@Raveler1 “May we believe that Truth isn’t just a metaphor – just to tell the truth, naming brokenness”
@BolingRevRuth On speaking the truth in love: “There is no unity in silence, no reconciliation in avoidance.” Brian Ellison preaching
@marcybain When we’re silent rather than speaking truth/engaging each other, it doesn’t result in one body; it results in no body.
@dwightolin Brian Ellison’s sermon on the change that is upon us paired with great organ music: lovely juxtaposition of old and new.

There was discussion (thanks to @joshmrowley) on a location for NEXT Church gatherings where socioeconomic diversity is more visible, or honored, or mentioned, or where ministries in mixed-income neighborhoods are lifted up. @jazzpastord mentioned Oakland, or Washington Heights in NYC.

During a greeting from @LindaBValentine, @hewnickel tweeted “’Trusting in God’s love even in turbulent times.’ A lesson for the next church.” Many tweeted about the use of time for greetings from the heads of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, the Presbyterian Foundation, the Board of Pensions. @ajc123 tweeted “Term ‘racial-ethnic communities’ gets used in the church a lot, but I rarely (ever?) hear it elsewhere.”

I missed the reference, but someone said something about a movement. @RevJohnRussell said “Strikes me as a little vague? A movement toward what exactly? And for whom? Us in the room?” @JoeGenau said “It does feel like the institution is seeking to respond to the movement – if awkwardly – instead of the other way around.”

@JEDi1016 nicely encapsulated things: “Ug [sic], the running joke of this conference (or today anyway) really going to be that there are ~666 of us here.”
@thesarahross Let’s just round up to an even 700.

@tripporch Current #nextchurch2015 agenda item: “pat ourselves on the back hour”

During the IGNITE presentations (on ministry and marriage as a clergy couple, ministry and education and children in Rochester, pastoring a church as it closes, by Young Adult Volunteers, and crowdfunding)…

@LandonWhitsitt @miheekimkort and @andykort speaking “truth in love” to one another. On stage. In front of us. #awkward J
@SarahDianne1230 Let’s not assume that ALL millennials hate traditional worship, hymnals, organs, etc. We’re not all the same.
@C_Rev Great Schools For All: great education for children in every zip code, Rochester, NY. Beautiful work, 3rd Pres.
@emmahhjo A “fear eradicating, hope inspiring God” is my God.
@RevMcWhit Well pastoring a church to closure is kind of putting it out to pasture #toosoon?
@NEXTpcusa IGNITE abt faithful church closure comes directly fm ’14 feedback that we must tell this story along w/renewal stories
@abbykk speaks of the sure and certain hope of resurrection
@Raveler1 “When I saw the disbanded church BE the church that day, I saw the turn of resurrection”
@jessscholten Vulnerability builds trust, gives courage. Thanks YAVs
@Jessie_Light YAVs!!! I love you!
@jodicraiglow Intentional community takes accountability, vulnerability, and hard work. #YAVs
@bookkats Crowdfunding another #newthing and way to reach beyond your wall
@tericarol I hope some year one of these presentations will be made by a single pastor about how we are invisible to the church. #altnextchurch2015
@jbonewald @ajc123 just put the ‘fun’ in crowd funding for the church

The livestream went in and out for viewers from afar.

@revjenn this ustream is horrible…I think Jesus is crying.

And when it came back, @Rob_Mus If we are talking about band-aids, then I am live again.

Afternoon Workshops saw participants scattered throughout the building and all over the city of Chicago, and happily/disproportionately featured alumni of McCormick Seminary! (I’m a proud 2005 graduate).

@MarkAllio we need 2 have difficult conversations, ask hard questions, and answer truthfully in love. #DiversityMatters
@JessiLoo How do we do mission without hurting the people we’re visiting?
@cathymanthei1 Dinner Church! Love it.
@bookkats Strangers to neighbors consumers to creators wandering to wondering. Root and branches.
@Jessie_Light McCormick is doing some awesome, reconciling work around issues of violence and peacemaking. Just sayin.
@cathymanthei1 Don’t worry about who is there. No one goes every week. No one. Dinner Church is difficult but it breaks the idea of church is. Ppl like some familiar some different
@MTSRecruit “Our children are not broken. Our systems are.” Michelle Day
@MaryAnnieSings No dichotomy between spirituality and social action. John Wilkinson
@WLawser Not sure how to turn the aircraft carrier of a church around? Sit at the feet of The Rev. Joy Douglas-Strome – Lake View Pres.’
@taraMdiva God has a funny way of getting you in a corner and you have to roll with it #wecallthatfaith words of @thepemily
@revfelipe “Young adults need a theology of giving. Say why giving to ministry matters more than at other places” Rev. Emily McGinley
@taraMdiva Gracenomics! Brilliant words from acaawesome Emily McGinley
@MarkAllio Ideas & goals are great but how do we bust churches out of longstanding paradigms?
@masonmtodd I’d like to explore something other than biz as usual. Why aren’t we DOING nextchurch not just talking it?
@heathergraces Think Presbyterians are hungry for new church staffing models? Not a spare seat in the room.

Conversation about privilege
Conversation about people who aren’t at Next

Diana Butler Bass

@Raveler1 “I’ve discovered how much people like to talk about the end of the church, and not about awakening.”
@scottpcusa When people had the time and money to do something about the future, they failed to do so.
@RevCamlin Will PCUSA be church that failed to consider future, or that emerges out of the ruins of the past?
@jledmiston Our questions will determine what will be #allaboutthatbass
@preachercomic Seems like I remember a beginning with an ark (not arc) and a convenant at the end of an awakening. #newpromise
@thesoulstepford Awakenings over revivals
@RevCamlin Revivals change the SIZE of congregations; awakenings change their MEANING.
@emmahhjo Revining is what lifeguards do to someone who was drowning. Awakening happens after a refreshing eight hours.
@ELSchemper Strikes me that this historical summary is about white English-speaking Protestants.
@awkukla And when nativism fails (as it must) we scapegoat minorities we view as the problem holding us back. Who are our scapegoats?
@Raveler1 Attraction – vision spreads to those non affected, often young, leading to innovation and experience, positive + negative
@bookkats When you cross that bridge the bickering doesn’t end but the kind of convo you are having changes
@RevCamlin Awakening step 5: Transformation. Previous undecideds embrace new vision. Considerable revision and restructuring.
@lukehyder DBB: 3 moves of awakening: Letting Go, Letting Be, Letting Come. Where are we? Where is our church?
@miheekimkort @jledmiston @pulpit but can we talk about what the social and political realities of that bridge is?
@ggbolt16 Wondering about individual and communal awakening. How awakening happens in large groups and broken hearts.
@RevSharylD “Are we willing to say we have failed?” Confession makes room for restoration and new ways.
@emmahhjo Why does the counter-awakening of the church parallel privatization, mass incarceration, the war on drugs, etc?
@NBensonNicol “The stage of the next Great Awakening is the world” – Diana Butler Bass
@bhenryteam Will we embrace the Great Awakening, or be a denomination that built too big and has to sell off a lot of real estate? DBB
@amackey12 It’s about creating a world of hope and joy. History is ours to make. We make history with God.
@C_Rev The future is about taking the right stuff with us into the future that is coming to be.

She also gave us a shout-out for the @Glory2GodHymnal !

In the middle of it all, the Palisades Presbytery, by voice vote, affirmed the change in the constitution expanding the definition of marriage (amendment 14F).
@tericarol Is it weird that I kind of want to shout “we have a new beginning!!” So we could celebrate even in midst of DBB? #14F
@themackattack The entirety of #nextchurch2015 just stood up with a standing ovation for #14F passing. I and so many others feel so, so loved right now.
@breyeschow Ha! @dianabutlerbass just threw some shade after the marriage vote was announced, “This Episcopalian welcomes you!”

And a plea…
@thesoulstepford On behalf of those who are still smothered in a racist hegemony, can we get Belhar through as well? Pretty please?

For Laughs
@PeterTheApostle And the Lord said, “It’s a #nextchurch2015 conference. Thou shalt have a @prezi.”
@thesarahross Millennial unicorns unite!
@drew_paton My #nextchurch2015 challenge: being inspired by all you blazing visionaries without succumbing to the sickness of comparing myself to you
@jbonewald Since when do Presbyterians raise their hands during hymns? Oh I see they’re trying to take pics during worship.

Monday, March 16, 2015

NEXT Church 2015 Gathering: Day 1

We can all acknowledge it’s weird to mix the media, to have Tweets read from the church lectern. But that’s what we’re doing, knowing that the conversation is happening in multiple ways. If you’re like me, the conversation is happening live, in real time, at Fourth Presbyterian Church, while it happens via text and private message on a personal phone, while it also happens via Facebook, and while it happens on Twitter. Bringing the Twitterverse together with the live/real time conversation means bringing more voices to the conversation. We have formal responses to presentations up on the platform, and we have responses online.

At morning worship, @TheRevHanPowell preached about Peter. There weren’t enough bulletins for everyone. (That’s cool, admit it.)

Tweets heated up in a discussion about the use of Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” during worship. @TheRevHanPowell got a laugh out of us when she called our passing of the peace “competitive.”

We wrote down things to let go on strips of paper, and people posted photos of the papers being stapled together into chains.

She brought up the “Jesus question” – Jesus as historical figure? Jesus as savior?

@pstamaury stated, “Protestantism reduced confession and reconciliation to piety from its sacramental and communal status #reclaim it”

@miheekimkort said, “Maybe church should focus on facilitating confession rather than proclamation.”

Themes that emerged in the morning session included:
·      The hard work of diversity, and addressing race and racism. The church is too white.
·      White people committing to the work most people of color have to do by default
·      How can we share, support each other in having difficult conversations about race
·      How churches can involve more ruling elders and members in NEXT
·      How to make the conference concrete after returning home, live what we learn
·      Wisdom comes from diversity
·      Intersectionality – how can the church talk about race as well as other identities facing discrimination
·      The importance of testimony

@bookkats was concerned with how church can best support and include millennials, who need time and money, by helping with debt reduction, perhaps exchanging loan payments for volunteer time.

On the Topic of Giving Up Membership
@MBauhof says @uvchurch didn’t have membership for its first three years

On the Gift Economy and Social Enterprise
@CNeely says Time magazine speaks of social enterprise this week
@gklimovitz loves the concept/praxis of Gift Economy. Sounds like Acts 2.
@miheekimkort says it is yucky to talk about the ethos of consumption tied with compassion
@landonwhitsitt Market economy can be a tool for bad or good
@marykathryndean notices “this ‘gift economy’ video talks about paying it forward and all, but doesn’t address people who can’t afford lunch.

For Workshops

The workshops with the most buzz discussed failure, culture change, mission, and formation. No one could tweet out of the movement workshop (fair enough), and not much tweeting came out of the incarceration workshop, but I know it was happening thanks to @CoachRevJen

On failure
@kathleenhenrion #failurelab telling stories of failure without “tying it up with a bow,” no lesson assigned at the end
Many mused on failure, how we can give permission without destroying each other, without enjoying the failure of others, and how to reflect on failure without giving into despair.

@RevMcWhit mission is less about people coming to church & more about church being sent to people. Less transactional & more relational
@revfelipe Missional church: God is already working in the community, we just may not have noticed. – Edwin Andrade

There has been ongoing conversation about how in the presbyterian church, we don’t really have lay people. We have Teaching Elders, Ruling Elders, Deacons, and members. Others mused about how membership as a model doesn’t work as well as it used to, with some considering “covenant partnership” as a model instead of “membership.”

@kathleenhenrion Confession as countercultural #failurelab
@theleannem How do we avoid the schadenfreude in this format? #failurelab
@erincounihan Culture Change Workshop: you should always have someone under 25 in leadership!
@jasaface Less magnet-ministry, more slingshot-ministry; get out into the world instead of waiting indoors
@rosynotrosie #nextchurch2015 is curing presbyopia (old eyes) #missionalcommunities

At the Jazz Service

@revmamd I’ve got a front row seat as Lucy Smith leads this jazz combo and it’s pretty rad

The Rev. Joy Douglas-Strome preached about the third space, faith, and the uselessness of our anxiety, and Twitter blew up.

@spooks1185 Where is your third space?
@scottpcusa “Maybe someday we’ll all find that rainbow connection.” (Rev. Joy Douglas Strome) #Word
@kathleenhenrion Easter spoiler alerts at #nextchurch2015
@mnewgale Jesus: “Can’t let a little thing like crucifixion get in the way of what I trained you for!”
@fyamada We have been given the gift of the gospel, and our energies are hijacked
@thesoulstepford “Faith has never been dependent on sight”
@jodicraiglow “You may called into a weighty institution, but the ministry of Jesus Christ is alive and kicking.” Joy Douglas Strome.
@nanettesawyer Lives are depending on us living out the good news
@chrisbjames I challenge you all today: find a better job than this one.

We then wrote on ribbons what gives us courage to step forward, to do this best job in the world.

And for Fun!

@erincounihan How to mess with Presbyterians: Sit in a different pew for every session.

@presoutlook When I was 10, I read books. The original hand-held device. – Joe Small