“Gentle Subversiveness”


We’ve been asking folks to share a few words about what the National Gathering has meant to them. What would you add?

By Kelly Allen

I am grateful to the leadership of the NEXT Church conference for a wonderful experience of worship, conversation, learning and inspiration. There was, throughout,  an air of “gentle subversiveness,” as the freedom of the gospel was celebrated in surprising ways. Thank you especially for…..silence, art, drums, the preaching of J. Herbert Nelson, worship in the balcony, the encouragement to fail, hearing another’s confession and offering assurance, testimonies of real things that are happening in congregations, for trusting young church leaders, the Lord’s Prayer remixed,  and time to gab in hallways and lounges.

I leave with a commitment to surface and receive more gifts in my congregation and community and to help the leadership welcome (even create) chaos. I am inspired by the work of “The Center” in Baltimore. Therefore I hope to build  on our already strong relationship with a local elementary school in which most of the kids live below the poverty level, bringing together our local community organizer with representatives from church, school and community, to create a process of involving the students in addressing issues they care about in their community.


Kelly Allen is pastor of University Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, Texas and is a candidate for moderator of the 221st General Assembly this June.


Image: Wednesday morning worship in the Great Hall of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Minneapolis

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