New forms of church

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With Malcolm Smith on banjo and Mac Traynham on guitar, Appalachian music is a central part of worship at Wild Goose Christian Community Church in Floyd County, Virginia. Photos by Stephanie Klein-Davis

 

PCUSA faith community takes flight, celebrating Appalachian music and culture

Tuesday services, rockers for pews, a Mason jar chalice and mountain music -- Wild Goose Christian Community is an alternative faith community that celebrates local Appalachian culture.

After years of struggling to keep up its 1928 building, the congregation of First Christian Church of Oakland decided to make it a center for nonprofits working for peace. Photos courtesy of Oakland Peace Center

A tiny congregation with a big building is resurrected as a center for peace

Concerned about violence in their city, members of a declining church in Oakland shifted focus, redefined its ministry and invited nonprofit service agencies to work together as the Oakland Peace Center.

With singers from PCUSA congregations across Rochester, Urban Presbyterians Together holds a joint choir concert in October 2015 at Downtown United Presbyterian Church. Photos courtesy of Riverside Neighbors

 

A city's PCUSA churches band together in the face of ongoing decline

A decade ago, two Rochester, New York, pastors wondered: What would happen if the city’s PCUSA congregations moved into an uncertain future together, instead of separately and alone? The answer: Life, death and resurrection.

The Rev. Jes Kast leads worship at A Taste of Heaven at West End Collegiate Church. Photos by Whitney Kidder

Soup kitchen-turned-worship service, A Taste of Heaven is a model of ministry 'with' rather than 'to'

On Manhattan’s Upper West Side, a church-run soup kitchen has become ‘A Taste of Heaven,’ with its own innovative worship service and a celebratory meal. It’s what outreach can be when the church listens to those it is trying to reach.

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

Simple Church blends dinner, worship and enterprise to create a new model

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 

Church has no walls but many doors, accessible to seekers and skeptics

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.

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