Social Media Ministry as Art

Painting with Boldness, Brightness, and Beauty

In the middle of my work as the social media assistant at Bearings Magazine, I came to an important, perspective changing realization: media is art. Surveying our contributors’ pieces, looking for quotes, scouring the internet for relevant pictures, and then diving into my favorite  design platform, Canva (which is available free to nonprofits) to bring the words... Read more

Border Crossings: Barriers or Points of Access?

From 1988 to 2012, I served as the pastor of a United Church of Christ congregation in the small city of Presque Isle, which is located in Aroostook County in northern Maine—just a few miles from the Canadian border. In the spring of 2001, I had been a member of the local Rotary Club for over a dozen years, and I was about to begin a term as club president. So... Read more

What’s in Your Hand?

An Asset-Based Approach to Community Ministry

In 2015, three days after the death of Freddie Gray, I joined forces with a coalition of grassroots activists and concerned citizens with a long track record of working for social justice in Baltimore to form Baltimore United for Change. We didn't wait for any funding — we put our heads, hearts and hands together and began to do the work. When Baltimore City schools... Read more

God was a Refugee

Finding the Beating Heart of Ministry in the Incarnation

Reina had walked for more than 20 days, in the rain and cold and mud. Grief-stricken after the loss of her son, she walked with one destination in mind: a country she hoped would be her safe-harbor, a new beginning, free from the fear and the violence she had known. She walked with thousands of others to find safety in numbers. She wasn’t trying to make a statement... Read more

Where Can I Run To?

Creating Sacred Space as a Black Woman

The 1990s R&B girl group, Xscape, has a famous song entitled “Who Can I Run To?” The song discusses the complexity of whom to rely on when one needs love. I can relate. I entered my thirties this year full of hope, only to be hit with three significant losses in a six-month time span. I lost the love of my life, then my job, and then my father passed. It... Read more

Calling Across the Bow

The Way Onward for Bearings: Navigating Life-as-Ministry

When I started this piece some weeks ago, the world was a different place. I had taken a jauntier tone than feels possible now. After all, here we are announcing not only the fifth year of publishing Bearings—a milestone for any publication, big or small—but also celebrating the launch of a redesigned site for the magazine, a new publication schedule, and a new... Read more

A Year of Lessons Learned at Bearings

With an Eye to the Road Ahead

In our most recent issue, we invited contributors to explore the lessons they’ve learned throughout their lives that speak to the opportunities and challenges of ministry in these times. Nicole Lamarche, a self-described “spiritual entrepreneur,” shared the joys and heartaches of getting a progressive community of faith off the ground. Her reflection on nearly... Read more

Learning From Hearts Broken Open

Lessons from 25 Years of Ministry on the Growing Edge

My nephew was a bright, ascending star. His academic acumen was extraordinary. His athletic ability was astounding. Musically, he was captivating with a repertoire and skill that could have landed him just about anywhere. And on July 14, 2018, he took his own life. Journalist Roxanne Roberts was right when she wrote of her father’s death more than 30 years... Read more

Not a Dirty Word

Administration as a Spiritual Practice

I only signed up for the class because my seminary required it. Church Administration sounded boring. I associated “administration”" with business. It seemed unlikely that I would go to work for a large church, and even if I did, the jobs I would apply for as a new seminary graduate would be associate positions. "Administration" carried the flavor of middle... Read more
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