In this excerpt from the introduction to their new book, Tim Shapiro and Kara Faris say that congregations aren’t going away, and neither is congregating. Creative, alternative faith communities are finding new ways to connect to the Divine.
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Across the country, creative, alternative congregations are doing church in unconventional ways, the co-author of ‘Divergent Church’ says in this interview. They may look different, but they are deeply rooted in tried-and-true practices of the faith.
Kuhnekt Initiative participants Octavia Ramsey, standing, and Carolyn Cooper, right, have a conversation at a community meal held at The Grove Presbyterian Church. Photos by Jason E. Miczek
Church members at The Grove Presbyterian Church are randomly paired and commit to monthly meetings as a way to deepen connections between them.
The chancel of Richfield UMC, where the remaining members have decided to close after years of faithful ministry. Photos courtesy of Zina Risley
A creative new ministry is underway in various UMC conferences to help declining congregations chart their end and leave behind a lasting gift.
Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods illustrates that innovation isn’t always about starting over but about understanding where and how a community gathers, writes the minister of education at The Riverside Church.
The centerpiece of Simple Church, a United Methodist congregation, is a Thursday night dinner when 30 to 40 share the Lord's Supper. Photos courtesy of Simple Church
Congregants gather for a sacred weekly meal where the conversation serves as the sermon and freshly baked bread provides nourishment, communion and income. Other churches are using their template to replicate the experience.
The Abundant Harvest food truck is one of the many parts of St. Isidore Episcopal Church and its "offensively generous" approach to ministry. Photos courtesy of St. Isidore Episcopal Church
One body with many parts, a Houston “church without walls” brings together house churches, a food truck, pub theology, a laundry ministry and more. Its priest isn’t trying to do something old in a new way – he’s trying to do something brand-new in the old way.
What was once the sanctuary of Asbury UMC is now home to Servant Church, where the Rev. Eric Vogt, left, leads worship -- and the church -- in a new direction. Photos by Brian Diggs
After years of decline, Asbury UMC in Austin, Texas, faced a question steeped in resurrection theology: Would they be willing to let their church die in order to have new life?
Layperson Muriel Dufendach, left, shares a laugh with the Rev. Carol Walton after a service at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Henderson, Nevada. Dufendach carries out some traditionally priestly functions, such as presiding at the weekday Eucharist. Photo by Ronda Churchill
Although church leaders often worry that switching from full-time to part-time clergy will lead to decline, congregations across the country are finding new vitality by reimagining the roles of clergy and laypeople.
As part of the CityReach program in downtown Boston, teenagers prepare sandwiches for people who are homeless. Photos courtesy of CityReach
Flipping the script on who gets to tell the story of the disenfranchised, common cathedral's CityReach program empowers people who have experienced homelessness to serve as trusted experts on life without shelter.