Congregational innovation

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The Rev. Sabrina Gray is director of the Planning Ahead end-of-life ministry and the Rev. Dr. Gloria White-Hammond is co-pastor of Bethel AME Church in Boston. Photos by Angela Rowlings

Ministry on death and dying teaches people how to plan for the end of life

Bethel AME Church in Boston helps members plan for the end of their lives with a three-part program that is practical and spiritual. The ministry is in keeping with the church’s focus on health and wellness.

Artists Caleb Clark, Christopher Holt and Jill Hooper compare a tracing of preliminary drawings to the final composition of the fresco at Haywood Street Congregation. Holt is an artist trained in making frescoes; Clark and Hooper assisted him in the two-year-long project. Photos by John Warner/Warner Photography

A church's fresco project shows that everyone has sacred worth

A church dedicated to radical hospitality and welcome creates a fresco that permanently enshrines those values and the faces of those it serves.

Steven and Harriet Gaither, a retired couple who benefited from one of Eastern Star Church's programs, stand in front of their first home. Photo courtesy of Eastern Star Church

Church's money management lessons lead to transformation in an impoverished neighborhood

Eastern Star Church is helping bring hope to the 46218 ZIP code in Indianapolis through housing initiatives, social services, a grocery store, financial coaching and more.

Dr. Jon Kocmond looks at photos of his family in his home office in Charlotte, North Carolina. Kocmond lost his 16-year-old son, Nathan, to suicide in the fall of 2017. He has since been active in the suicide support group at Christ Episcopal Church. Photos by Wendy Yang

A church invests in mental health in response to parishioners' suffering

A 6,400-member congregation in North Carolina has created a “wellness director” position after experiencing six suicides in five years.

Windsor Jones and Country pause for a moment at the Common Soles clinic hosted by Church of the Common Ground, where Jones washed Country's feet. Photos by Branden Camp

A church without walls offers unconditional acceptance to people who are homeless

Church of the Common Ground, an Episcopal congregation in Atlanta, avoids the usual attempts to “fix” people who are living on the streets. Instead, it seeks to be a living witness of love and compassion.

The Kusanya Cafe in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago was established five years ago by a partnership that included Canaan Community Church. Photo courtesy of Kusanya Cafe

Jonathan Brooks: Sometimes the church needs to follow and partner with others

The pastor of an inner-city Chicago church shares how he and his congregation have changed the way they work in their neighborhood -- and how that has changed the community itself.

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