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5 Questions with Tara Spuhler McCabe

This series highlights participants at the national gathering in Minneapolis on March 31st – April 2nd, 2014. Presenters, preachers, teachers, and leaders were asked the same five questions and their thoughtful responses may be found here every week. The goal is to introduce you to people you’ll hear from in Minneapolis and prime the pump for our time together. Hopefully, something here will spark an idea, thought, or question for you. We encourage you to reach out and initiate conversations that you can later continue in person. 

Tara Spuhler McCabe is co-leading a workshop on Cultivating Race Conversations: How to Be an Ally.

5 questions

1.     Tell us about your ministry context.

I’m a minister member of National Capital Presbytery, offering Pulpit Supply and ministry coaching for pastors and congregational leadership. I also work part-time at a daycare in our neighborhood providing support to teachers and parents.

2.     Where have you seen glimpses of “the church that is becoming”?

Abstractly, I see this in our tensions/conflicts and how we hold onto each other as we navigate the tension.  The depth and growth is beautiful.  Concretely, I see this with 2.5 immigrant generations cultivating their own brand of Presbyterianism to a daycare that serves the community.

3.     What are your passions in ministry? (And/or what keeps you up at night?)

Honestly, the passion of faith keeps me up at night.  Great Worship! And profound relationships that hem us in as the body of Christ.  We get it wrong too often but we are trying so hard to get it right.

4.     What is one thing you are looking forward to at the NEXT Gathering?

I am looking forward to new conversations and praciticing a renewed conversation with sticky realities like anti-racism or representation in our organizational models.

5.     Describe NEXT Church in seven words or less.

A source of what we are becoming.

5 Questions with Jeff Krehbiel

This series highlights participants at the national gathering in Minneapolis on March 31st – April 2nd, 2014. Presenters, preachers, teachers, and leaders were asked the same five questions and their thoughtful responses may be found here every week. The goal is to introduce you to people you’ll hear from in Minneapolis and prime the pump for our time together. Hopefully, something here will spark an idea, thought, or question for you. We encourage you to reach out and initiate conversations that you can later continue in person. 

Jeff Krehbiel is one of the Paracletos coaches who will be co-leading a workshop on the learnings thus far in this church revitalization project.

5 questions

1.     Tell us about your ministry context.

Church of the Pilgrims is a small, historic, largely young adult congregation in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC, with a long history of social justice, and a recent history of creative worship.

2.     Where have you seen glimpses of “the church that is becoming”?

In Epiphany, we asked four members of our congregation to preach, telling their own journey of faith and vocation. They were beautiful and awe-inspiring. It’s only when pastors get out of the way that liturgy truly becomes the work of the people.

3.     What are your passions in ministry? (And/or what keeps you up at night?)

My passion is helping people discover their own agency—as leaders, as citizens, as disciples.

4.     What is one thing you are looking forward to at the NEXT Gathering?

Being inspired by great stories of churches doing bold things, and being with beloved colleagues (OK, that’s two things).

5.     Describe NEXT Church in seven words or less.

Living into the church that is becoming.

5 Questions with Kara Root

This series highlights participants at the national gathering in Minneapolis on March 31st – April 2nd, 2014. Presenters, preachers, teachers, and leaders were asked the same five questions and their thoughtful responses may be found here every week. The goal is to introduce you to people you’ll hear from in Minneapolis and prime the pump for our time together. Hopefully, something here will spark an idea, thought, or question for you. We encourage you to reach out and initiate conversations that you can later continue in person. 

Kara Root is offering a testimony on Discerning the Culture and she helped plan worship for the National Gathering!

5 questions1. Tell us about your ministry context.

I’m at Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, a vibrant, intergenerational, creative little community that has been around for over 90 years and is currently living into God’s Story through honest worship, abundant hospitality, and intentional Sabbath rest.  We alternate our worship schedule, meeting for worship 1st & 3rd Sundays, and 2nd & 4th weeks on Saturdays, to set aside those Sundays as a Day of Rest. On 5th Sundays we gather in the evening for worship alongside the kids at a local Home for Children in their chapel.

2. Where have you seen glimpses of “the church that is becoming”?

Oh my. I glimpse this every single day. When people struggle to be present to each other and listen across perceived (even rigid) barriers, I see the Church that is becoming.  When an 83 year old, an 8 year old, and a 3 year old serve meals together and serve together on an usher team, or when a child leads the congregation in prayer, and holds the cup for her neighbor and says, “the blood of Christ, shed for you,” I see the Church that is becoming.  When the ministry of the older woman with the keys to all her neighbor’s houses to let out dogs and let in the meter person is honored alongside the ministry of the distinguished teacher, gifted preacher, full-time aid worker or hospice nurse, and when people do the hard work of standing with one another in suffering and genuinely celebrate each other’s joys, I see the church that is becoming.  When a funeral is held for one neighborhood baby, and a blessing ceremony held for another – even if those families don’t come to worship – or a trip is taken to repair someone’s parents’ house or help out someone’s sister who is on bedrest in another state, none of whom have been met before, I see the Church.

We meet Jesus, who is with and for us, when we are with and for each other. We are the Church that is becoming, and I glimpse this whenever a group of people go about their ordinary, holy little lives remembering more often than forgetting, that Church isn’t somewhere we go or something we do, Church is who we are, and then reminding each other and the world of that as often, and in as many ways, as possible.

3. What are your passions in ministry? (And/or what keeps you up at night?)

I am passionate about empowering people to join what God is doing in the world in their daily, ordinary lives.  I want to help people to be theologically engaged and reflective, and to participate in the life they are given.  Practicing Sabbath is a big part of this, as our own instincts and the culture around us push us to a relentless pace and productivity that numbs us to the gifts and callings in our lives.

I’m passionate about the continued work of always asking, What is God doing among us NOW? And NOW? Where might the Spirit be leading us NOW?  And never settling for how we’ve always done it, what we think we “ought” to be doing, or what that other congregation over there is doing.

I am kept up at night by the very same things that make me passionate. Our lives matter; being Church matters.  I can sleep when I remember that this is God’s thing and we’re just joining in, with all our flaws and bumbles.  But sometimes I forget that a little bit.  Leading is a vulnerable, important and sacred thing, and I don’t want to mess it up.  I get kept up at night when I start thinking that I can avoid that somehow.

4. What is one thing you are looking forward to at the NEXT Gathering?

I love the inspiration that builds in hearing others’ experiences and stories, and the collaborative visions that unfold and carry beyond the moment.  I am looking forward to the energy of synergy.

5. Describe NEXT Church in seven words or less.

Noticing together what God is doing now

5 Questions with Kellie Anderson-Picallo and Rich Hong

This series highlights participants at the national gathering in Minneapolis on March 31st – April 2nd, 2014. Presenters, preachers, teachers, and leaders were asked the same five questions and their thoughtful responses may be found here every week. The goal is to introduce you to people you’ll hear from in Minneapolis and prime the pump for our time together. Hopefully, something here will spark an idea, thought, or question for you. We encourage you to reach out and initiate conversations that you can later continue in person. 

Kellie Anderson-Picallo and Rich Hong are the pastors at First Presbyterian Church of Englewood. They will be leading a workshop on the 90 second sermon and other visual, sharable inspiration for social media.

5 questions1. Tell us about your ministry context.

Media is a lively tool that we embrace throughout both our traditional and contemporary worship services at First Presbyterian Church of Englewood (www.englewoodpres.org). FPC is medium-size (400+ members), diverse, growing congregation in Northern New Jersey, just a few miles from NYC.  Our once-aging congregation is experiencing a significant influx of professional families with young children.  In the context of their very hectic lives, creating and maintaining connections to them requires us to be as adaptive and innovative as possible, leveraging technology and media to help them discover and deepen their faith.

2. Where have you seen glimpses of “the church that is becoming”?

We’ll answer this from the local church level and we see this as a movement. Our FPC leadership of Elders and Deacons are some of our greatest champions of new and entrepreneurial thinking to grow the church and respond to the growing community. They recently identified 90 Second Sermon as one of their favorite parts and we’ve seen attendance blossom. The positive attitude and unifying spirit of being and growing the church is swelling within and a real glimpse of “the church that is becoming.”

3. What are your passions in ministry? (And/or what keeps you up at night?)

Both of us are second-career pastors – one a first-career media professional and one a first-career science & technology specialist.  Our passions in ministry include taking the best practices of what we learned in our first careers and applying them to ministry.  We are passionate about helping people – especially SBNRs – develop a relationship with faith in ways that are natural and familiar to them. We share the commitment that media is a pulpit for helping us build God’s world and reach new people.

4. What is one thing you are looking forward to at the NEXT Gathering?

The shared mindset of a spectacular group of people that the church is growing, lively and full of the talent and leadership that can build a meaningful future.  We are looking forward to being with a set of colleagues who are committed to resilient and entrepreneurial ways to liven our tradition, meet people where they are at and take them further with enthusiasm and hope for the future of the Presbyterian Church.

5. Describe NEXT Church in seven words or less.

Leadership and hope are catalysts for change.

5 Questions with Kate Foster Connors

This series highlights participants at the national gathering in Minneapolis on March 31st – April 2nd, 2014. Presenters, preachers, teachers, and leaders were asked the same five questions and their thoughtful responses may be found here every week. The goal is to introduce you to people you’ll hear from in Minneapolis and prime the pump for our time together. Hopefully, something here will spark an idea, thought, or question for you. We encourage you to reach out and initiate conversations that you can later continue in person.

Kate Foster Connors is the Director of The Center. She will be offering a testimony at the National Gathering.

5 questions1. Tell us about your ministry context.

The Center is a mission partnership of the Baltimore Presbytery that equips congregations to get involved in their neighborhoods. We host church groups from all over the country, matching them with local congregations who are engaged in their neighborhoods. The visiting church group gets to plug into an ongoing, sustained ministry led by a local congregation, and the local congregation gains extra hands and feet to accomplish a special initiative.

2. Where have you seen glimpses of “the church that is becoming”?  

In congregations wanting to take a look at how they are using the talents, resources, energy and gifts of their congregation. Are they serving just the congregation and its facilities? Or are they out in the city, working with local leaders to realize justice for all of God’s children? These questions are being asked more and more frequently in the congregations I work with – and out of a deep engagement with what it means to live the gospel as a community of faith.

3. What are your passions in ministry? (And/or what keeps you up at night?)

Helping the church be the church – in other words, what are we, if we aren’t standing with the poor, those living with food insecurity, those without adequate housing, or education, or healthcare?

4. What is one thing you are looking forward to at the NEXT Gathering?

I can’t wait to hear the stories of others who are excited about bringing innovation and creativity to re-creating the church!

5. Describe NEXT Church in seven words or less.

Inspiring innovation in the church

5 Questions with Gary Swaim

This series highlights participants at the national gathering in Minneapolis on March 31st – April 2nd, 2014. Presenters, preachers, teachers, and leaders were asked the same five questions and their thoughtful responses may be found here every week. The goal is to introduce you to people you’ll hear from in Minneapolis and prime the pump for our time together. Hopefully, something here will spark an idea, thought, or question for you. We encourage you to reach out and initiate conversations that you can later continue in person. 

Gary D. Swaim, Ph.D. lives in Irving, TX.  He is a produced playwright in California and Texas (including a drama portraying the last years in the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer) and a widely-published poet and writer of short fiction, in addition to anthologized poetry and fiction.  Currently, Dr. Swaim teaches in the Masters of Liberal Studies Program for S.M.U and serves as Faculty Advisor for Creative Writing.  He was selected as the 2011 Texas Senior Poet Laureate and was awarded the honor of Minnie Stevens Piper Professor of Excellence for the state of Texas. Swaim is a member of the Woodhaven Presbyterian Church of Irving, Texas and a ruling elder. Gary will be leading a workshop, Creating the Poetry of the Spirit.

5 questions1. Tell us about your ministry context.

I grew up in a conservative denomination and served as a minister (pastor) in that denomination (fulltime and supply) for approximately fifteen years.  With that same group, I later served as an elder for thirteen years.  Through it all, I began drifting (deliciously and painfully) from the literalism I had been part to.  Fresh air fell on me when my wife and I associated with the Presbyterian Church.  I continued my spiritual search and have served as a ruling elder (and lay minister) there.  I have, for as long as I can remember, regarded myself a deeply spiritual person who makes essentially no distinction between the world of the spirit and material.  Each of my life acts is, I believe, of the (S)spirit.

2. Where have you seen glimpses of “the church that is becoming”?

I have seen the “church that is becoming” in the specific acts of persons inside as well as outside the nominal church.  I have seen it among those who say they do not believe as well as in those who believe deeply.  I have seen it in the person of advanced age and of youth.  It is most in individuals (and my thoughts go to one so aptly named Gloria) more than in collected gatherings of Christians.  I have seen the church becoming most with the marriage of the arts to the gathered body of persons. . .when individuals become co-creators with God.

3. What are your passions in ministry? (And/or what keeps you up at night?)

The so-called “high church” among most Presbyterians speaks to me most and impassions me.  Perhaps because I am a Professor of Arts and Humanities, symbology/imagery/depth of analysis speak to me most clearly, and I fear for its demise, its being overrun by bubblegum theology and practice.  No, I know.  This meets the needs of many and has every right to its existence.  It is, perhaps, only I whose need cannot be met by what APPEARS to be surface in nature.  And, then, I cry (worshipfully) at the excellence in a performance of “Sing, Sing, Sing” by Benny Goodman’s recording.  I have not said, you will have noticed, that I’m always consistent.

4. What is one thing you are looking forward to at the NEXT Gathering?

I will be enjoying (I know this is so, by faith) my first visit with Next Church.  I have long been involved in a quest for truths of all types and sorts, the very nature of my profession and temperament.  A quest, as concept, automatically involves “quest-ions.” I am rife with questions, short on permanent answers.  I expect that will be so for most attending Next Church.  What other reason than the search for answers would bring into existence a gathering like this?  I look forward to interacting with “questers.”  Nothing gives me greater anticipation.

5. Describe NEXT Church in seven words or less.

Believing, hopeful, questers in search of answers. . . .

5 Questions with John Wilkinson

We are launching a new series this month that highlights participants at the national gathering in Minneapolis on March 31st – April 2nd, 2014. Presenters, preachers, teachers, and leaders were asked the same five questions and their thoughtful responses may be found here every week. The goal is to introduce you to people you’ll hear from in Minneapolis and prime the pump for our time together. Hopefully, something here will spark an idea, thought, or question for you. We encourage you to reach out and initiate conversations that you can later continue in person. So without further ado …

5 questions 950x300John Wilkinson is Pastor of Third Presbyterian Church in Rochester NY. He came to Rochester in 2001 from Chicago. He has been active on the presbytery and national levels, and loves our connectional culture and confessional legacy. He’s leading a workshop (along with Tedd Pulano) on Urban Presbyterians Together, A Model for Missional and Relational Ministry.

1. Tell us about your ministry context.

Metropolitan congregation, interesting combinaiton of tradition and innovation, vibrant, serving, growing, seeking

2. Where have you seen glimpses of “the church that is becoming”?

Our collaborative urban ministry that is addressing the challenges of public education in the city of Rochester

3. What are your passions in ministry? (And/or what keeps you up at night?)

Worship, collegiality, collaboration, urban ministry, the confessions, connectionalism, hymns

4. What is one thing you are looking forward to at the NEXT Gathering?

Connecting with colleagues and friends and gleaning new ideas for ministry

5. Describe NEXT Church in seven words or less.

Connecting, transforming, adapting, confessing, serving, worshiping, hoping

5 Questions with Andrew Foster Connors

We are launching a new series this month that highlights participants at the national gathering in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 4 – 5th, 2013. Presenters, preachers, teachers, and leaders were asked the same five questions and their thoughtful responses may be found here every week. The goal is to introduce you to people you’ll hear from in Charlotte and prime the pump for our time together. Hopefully, something here will spark an idea, thought, or question for you. We encourage you to reach out and initiate conversations that you can later continue in person. So without further ado …

Andrew Foster Connors

Workshop Leader

Andrew Foster ConnorsAndrew Foster Connors has served as the senior pastor of the Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, MD since 2004. He currently serves as the clergy co-chair of BUILD, Baltimore’s largest citizen power organization, affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation. BUILD is responsible for the first living wage ordinance in the country, the College Bound Scholarship Program, the rehabilitation of the Sandtown and Oliver communities, as well as the largest after school program in Baltimore. He serves on the strategy team for NEXT. He is married to the Rev. Kate Foster Connors. Together they have two children, two cats, one rabbit, and two fish.

1. Tell us about your ministry context.

I serve a congregation of approximately 300, with a fairly even split among all age groups. The church sanctuary, built in 1870 is situated in old Baltimore neighborhood, just a few blocks from an arts college, in a zip code that includes some of the highest poverty rates in the state of Maryland. Though many of the congregants have some experience in Christian community, for many, our congregation is their first Presbyterian experience. Racial and sexual identity diversity is strong and growing.

2. Where have you seen glimpses of “the church that is becoming”?

The congregation I serve almost closed its doors in the late 1970s due to a declining city population and associated economic challenges. During that time, the congregation was forced to reinvent itself. What I see emerging from those challenges is a willingness to try and fail, a joy in creativity, and a strong connection to the parts of the past that give life, with more and more experience in the work of grieving which is necessary in order to let go of ministry that may have been meaningful in the past, but no longer relevant today. It’s these experiences that help the church continue to connect with new generations without completely disconnecting from the theological and social witness of our tradition.

3. What are your passions in ministry? (And/or what keeps you up at night?)

My passion is broad based community organizing that views God’s locus of power for life and transformation in relationships. The tools for organizing shape my view of leadership in the pastorate, which is about organizing people to act on the parts of their faith which are most meaningful and life-giving to them and to the community we serve as disciples of Jesus Christ. For me, these tools have helped me continue to view leadership development as one of the most important roles I play, rather than the maintenance of a building, of programs, or of the status quo. These are the same tools that have also helped me act with a coalition of other faith groups, schools, and neighborhoods for justice in Baltimore.

What keeps me up at night is managing my calendar, and sometimes one of our cats.

4. What is one thing you are looking forward to at the NEXT Gathering?

Seeing old friends, colleagues, and debating partners, along with meeting all kinds of creative, energetic people who are excited about ministry, rather than simply depressed by the state of the church. Sharing what we’re excited about. Helping those who are struggling with specific concerns imagine new ways forward. Singing with people who like to sing. Identifying new leaders and finding ways to support them.

5. Describe NEXT in seven words or less.

The flint igniting the fuel already there.

5 Questions with Bill Golderer

This series highlights participants at the national gathering in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 4 – 5th, 2013. Presenters, preachers, teachers, and leaders were asked the same five questions and their thoughtful responses may be found here every week. The goal is to introduce you to people you’ll hear from in Charlotte and prime the pump for our time together. Hopefully, something here will spark an idea, thought, or question for you. We encourage you to reach out and initiate conversations that you can later continue in person. 

Bill Golderer and his partner in crime, Julie.

1. Tell us about your ministry context. 

In 2005, I responded to a call from a group of (mostly) suburban mainline protestant clergy from the Philadelphia region to breathe new life into a dormant landmark church in Center City that in the last century was an important part of a vibrant urban landscape. That response led to my founding of the Broad Street Ministry (BSM) in Philadelphia in what was once the historic Chambers-Wylie Memorial Presbyterian Church along Center City’s Avenue of the Arts. BSM is an innovative Christian faith community that emphasizes the Gospel imperatives of extending generous hospitality, demonstrating justice and compassion, and providing a ground for artistic expression. Beginning with less than $8,000 in seed capital and no existing congregation, BSM has grown into one of Center City Philadelphia’s most dynamic and largest worshipping congregations. It is diverse in every way, and has worked aggressively in its common life to be hands-on in addressing issues that detract from people’s ability to experience the abundant life that God intends.

In 2008, I extended my pastoral ministry in Philadelphia when he became the Pastor of Arch Street Presbyterian Church (ASPC).  Since 1851, Arch Street Presbyterian has been a worshipping congregation in the heart of Center City Philadelphia. When I arrived, this congregation was on life-support.  But after assembling a dynamic team of lay and professional leadership, ASPC has undergone a rapid and dramatic revitalization. Collectively, this community has taken up its mat and is walking boldly into the future that God has prepared for it.  The congregation is now a dynamic Sunday morning worshipping community, a church that welcomes children and families of every configuration, and a church that struggles alongside the people who work in the skyscrapers around it (and those who wish they were employed there) who aim to integrate their faith and work.

2. Where have you seen glimpses of “the church that is becoming”?

It is a core conviction of mine that God is already dynamically at work in the world and the priorities of the Kingdom are on view everywhere.  I like to think that when we are at our best, Presbyterian leaders are like archeologists who are uncovering in the most unlikely places where God is up to something exciting and challenging.  Specifically I have seen this wherever the church is taking risks that are real and scary.  When we are not at our best, we tend to be the kind of people who want to know our ministry experiments will work without the risk of failure.  Two women who are forging ahead with an attempt to be the church in a new way–who are sort of “alumnae” of BSM’s pastoral leadership program–are doing something that is really exciting (and fraught with risks).  Rev. Karen Rohrer and Becca Blake are a couple of committed and talented seminary grads who have tried to be the church in a neighborhood that is rife with tension between those who have lived in the neighborhood for decades and a recent influx of hipsters and other young people whose presence is gentrifying the neighborhood.  Through creative worship and a commitment to be the church that brings these divergent populations together, they are up to something really powerful but also very fragile.  God is unmistakably present when those two elements are in place.  Check them out!  http://www.facebook.com/thewordatbeacon

3. What are your passions in ministry? (And/or what keeps you up at night?)

My passion in ministry is connecting the core commitments of the congregations I serve with the concerns and dreams of people whose work and lives are in deep alignment with the Kingdom of God but who have–for whatever reason–been disaffected or disappointed by the church.  I love to mix it up with “lowbrow” artists and the societal shot-callers who are often surprised by the passion and conviction of the people who call BSM or ASPC their church home.  I love challenging the assumptions held by some that the church is limp, inert and overly concerned with comfort, safety and institutional survival.  I like to get into the deep end with people who are trying to make a splash in society that could result in a more just Philadelphia.

4. What is one thing you are looking forward to at the NEXT Gathering?

I relish conversation with people who are looking for the courage and the company to be the church in a more generous and bold fashion.  I met quite a few folks like that at NEXT last year.  I tend to shy away from conferences but this feels fresh to me.

5. Describe NEXT in seven words or less.

I have high hopes for NEXT but I am not sure we know yet what it will be.  If I were to sum up my hopes for what NEXT will be is:Community for those who believe restlessness, courage, and relentlessness are spiritual qualities worth cultivating. (That’s more than 7 but that’s what I’ve got.)

5 Questions with Ashley Goff

We are launching a new series this month that highlights participants at the national gathering in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 4 – 5th, 2013. Presenters, preachers, teachers, and leaders were asked the same five questions and their thoughtful responses may be found here every week. The goal is to introduce you to people you’ll hear from in Charlotte and prime the pump for our time together. Hopefully, something here will spark an idea, thought, or question for you. We encourage you to reach out and initiate conversations that you can later continue in person. So without further ado … 

Ashley Goff is Minister for Spiritual Formation at Church of the Pilgrims (PCUSA) and ordained in the United Church of Christ. Ashley graduated from Union Theological Seminary in NYC where she fell in love with the art of liturgy.  She lives with deep gratitude for several communities which have formed her along the way: Denison University, the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, the Open Door Community, and Rikers Island NYC Jail. Ashley also finds life in Springsteen music, beekeeping, urban farming, vinyasa yoga, and her three kids and loveable spouse.

1.Tell us about your ministry context

I am Minister for Spiritual Formation at Church of the Pilgrims, a More Light, urban, progressive, “we-drink-beer-during-Bible-study-at-the-bar-across-the-street” PCUSA congregation in Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. I have been at Pilgrims 14 years and ordained in the United Church of Christ. When I arrived at Pilgrims in 1999, right out of Union Seminary in NYC, the congregation was at rock bottom in every way possible. Now, we have transformed ourselves into a lively, mutli-age/gender/race/denominational-history congregation. We thrive on innovative worship, community organizing, urban gardening, Biblical stories, and sharing food with hungry people.

2. Where have you seen glimpses of “the church that is becoming”?

At Pilgrims, I experience a community that is and becoming an innovative, creative, collective body when we worship together, particularly when we take ancient practices and make them new to us. We are becoming when we roast marshmallows before a winter solstice service, walk in meditation before communion, learn new songs together, anoint each other after sharing the bread, and baptize with a thunderous voice that peace and justice are the Ways of God. We are becoming when I experience liturgy at Pilgrims and realize someone could see what we did in two ways: “what you did was profoundly Christian or barely Christian.” When we risk and take ourselves to an edge for the sake of Jesus we are becoming.

3. What are your passions in ministry? (And/or what keeps you up at night?)

My passion is this creative edge for liturgy that creates space for us to experience the transformative nature of the Spirit. I have been most influenced by the ancient liturgical expressions of the Open Door Community in Atlanta, Georgia, James Chapel at Union Seminary in NYC, and St. Gregory of Nyssa in San Francisco, and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. These communities transformed me through their improvisational, liturgical ways, opening us space for God to be known to me. I’m passionate about carrying the methods of these communities into my work. I’m passionate how the revolutionary methods of the arts hold the most power for me in planning liturgy. I’m passionate about the intersection of urban gardening, liturgy, sharing food and how an Earth-Honoring faith pushes Pilgrims to tether itself to God whose unrelenting imperative is justice.

4. What is one thing you are looking forward to at the NEXT Gathering?

I’m looking forward to sharing Pilgrims story of liturgy and being with people, especially Laura Cunningham, who is a dear friend and whom I don’t get to see very often.

5. Describe NEXT in seven words or less.

Collective. Imagination. Newness. Imperative. Must. Yes. Innovation.