Embracing Brave Change as Christian Identity and Mission

For people in ministry, one of the most frustrating phrases to hear from congregants and committees is, “But we’ve never done it that way before.” There is often a lot packed into that one sentence—fear (of risk, of failure), hesitation around trusting the pastoral leader, and even grief over the loss of the familiar.  For leaders this phrase can feel like a roadblock.... Read more

Sharing is a Gift in Itself

Congregations becoming Spaces of Hospitality for People Experiencing Homelessness

Yesterday I spent several hours at church, but not for the reasons you might think. This was not for a worship service or a committee meeting. It was neither quiet nor serious. The evening I spent at church was filled with noise and children and purple frosting. It was filled with running toddlers, balloons, and at least four different spoken languages. When I... Read more

Called to Dinner, Together

Growing up, I didn’t realize that my proximity to extended family would, 40 years later, turn out to be an anachronism. With my much older sister and three of my father’s six siblings living within a few hundred yards of our family farm, I came and went as I pleased. My mother, an unenthusiastic cook, was happy for me to make the rounds to see who offered the... Read more

Nurturing a New Generation of Immigration Activists in the Church

Witnessing with Young Adults Yields Resources for Congregational Engagement

“How did I never learn about this in school?!” Last month, I stood with a group of young people at the site of the largest massacre in modern Central American history, El Mozote, El Salvador. More than 1,000 civilians, mostly women and children, were systematically and brutally executed by government forces in 1981. We learned about how the U.S. had provided... Read more

Ministry, Marriage, and Immigration

A Love Story

I was raised in Eatonville, Florida—the oldest all-black, incorporated town in the country. Eatonville sits between Daytona Beach and Orlando. We are smack dab in the middle of central Florida (thus the name of our university, the University of Central Florida). Eatonville was not a hot bed for immigration issues. It was a small all black town with dirt roads and... Read more

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