THE SARASOTA STATEMENT

At its 2017 National Gathering, NEXT Church released a new confessional statement in response to the current state of the church and world. It’s called the Sarasota Statement, and it was made possible by a partnership between NEXT Church and the Presbyterian Foundation. We hope you’ll take the statement into your own life and context, using it as a tool to declare your own faith statement, proclaiming the light of Christ.

Glen Bell, Layton Williams, and Bertram Johnson give background on the Sarasota Statement at the 2017 NEXT Church National Gathering.

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Learn more about the Sarasota Statement with these blog posts from the writers and conveners.

Making Room at the Table

In a day and age when so many people have chosen to write a “Dear John” letter to the church, the ministry of NEXT Church seized the opportunity to write the Sarasota Statement that actively demonstrated what it means to include one another and to seek out the alien and stranger.

God’s Beloved Community

When I was invited to help compose this statement of faith and action, I immediately felt a sense of apprehension. I wanted to be certain that I could bring my whole self to the occasion. It was also vital that the communities in which I hold membership and those I care for see themselves, their struggles, and passions voiced here.

The Kingdom of God Is

Perhaps the most countercultural posture the church can proclaim and seek to embody is one of confidence and hopefulness. Such a way of faith and action may demand that we live and act counter to our own preferences at times.

The Stupendous Promises of God

The reason we dare to imagine what things should look like in this world (in the Sarasota Statement and beyond) is because God has made us stupendous promises. God’s Kingdom will come to earth as it is in heaven, we confess.

Accepting the Invitation

There is something special about the Sarasota Statement – and also nothing special about it at all. But it points beyond itself, inviting and challenging all of us to do the same, in our place, in our time, right here and now.

Called To The Uncomfortable Place

At one point, I told one of my colleagues on the team that I had never been so aware of both my privilege and lack thereof as I was during this process. My race, gender, and sexual identity combined with my traditional Presbyterian education and my untraditional non-parish job placed me uniquely and intensely in the midst of the various identities represented in the group.

What Do We Say?

The writers of the Sarasota Statement began their work with the recognition that they are but “a small and imperfect reflection of the church.” They gathered because it seemed an important and difficult moment for leaders around our church to name the convictions of our faith alongside the disconnection and division in this country. What do we say?

A Confession for This Moment

If I really believed all the things I claimed in that article, then we needed a confession to address the world and the church and claim our hope in God for this particular moment.

2017 National Gathering NEXT Church Update

Karen Sapio, Lori Raible, and Shavon Starling-Louis give an update on the work of NEXT Church at the 2017 National Gathering. Following them, three writers of the Sarasota Statement give more information on this new confession of faith.