Bearings: Navigating Life-as-Ministry
April 2018

Becoming a Cosmopolitan Faith (Again)

Practicing Christianity beyond Belief

This week the Pew Forum reported that belief in God—the transcendent, supernatural being who intervenes in human history and forms often deeply personal relationships with humans, according to the scriptures revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims—remains strong among Americans, with some 80% answering “yes” when asked whether they believe in God. But what... Read more

Finding the Face of the Church Becoming

Can a Renewed Pluralism Nurture a ‘Church on the Way’ that Engages Young People?

It was May, 1965 when a group of African-American Episcopalians from the Episcopal Society for Culture and Racial Unity, also known as ESCRU, attempted to enter an Episcopal Church in St. Augustine, Florida for Sunday mass. As explored in United By Faith: The Multicultural Congregation As An Answer to Race, these Episcopalians were blocked from entering the church... Read more

Becoming Digitally-Integrated Church

A Media Scholar and a Church Staff Advisor Reflect on How Our Online Lives are Shaping Religious Practice Today—And How Churches can Respond, Connect, and Engage Online and Off

A decade and a half ago, Heidi’s book, Exploring Religious Communities Online, documented how traits of early forms of online religious communities emerging in the late 1990s posed both a potential challenge and opportunity to offline churches. These early “virtual communities,” as they were referred to, grew out of the web 1.0 era of email lists, newsgroups, and... Read more

Singing the Past into the Future

Evensong as the Voice of Faithful Becoming

On a recent Saturday around sunset, a group of 40 people gathered in the chapel of our suburban Connecticut “tall steeple church” for “Evensong,” a weekly contemporary Christian service we have offered since September. Imagined and led by our associate pastor, it is the kind of service that is flourishing in many other churches throughout the country—more informal,... Read more

Cultivating Creativity

A Guide for Reflection & Conversation

The three essays in this month’s magazine describe some ways creativity is being cultivated in some churches and church-like spaces. There are varied expressions highlighted: there is poetry; there is music; there is visual art. Ellen McGrath Smith describes The Bridge Series, a monthly gathering of poets and other writers who read their work in order to raise... Read more