Wednesday, October 14, 2009

reflections on the Luthermergent gatherings

by Tim K. Snyder

Last week about 30 folks (some in and out) gathered in Edina, Minnesota as part of Christianity 21. The time was filled with conversation, new friends, old friends, hard questions, prayer and trying to figure out if we should even have a Luthermergent "network." Thursday we gathered together leaders of communities to talk about their contexts and about what they're learning. We asked that difficult and often elusive question, "so why Lutheran?" and noticed how many of our Luthermergent communities are led by folks who are adult converts to Lutheranism. Weird, right? That evening we headed over to celebrate the launch of Sparkhouse and much needed space to just invest in each other. We closed the night with evening prayer and a blessing of the (Spark)house.

On Friday we re-convened and we dwelled in the word — "I believe, help my unbelief." We then took some time to listen broadly to research on emerging churches in the ELCA (a PhD study by my friend Dan Anderson) and we dove into the results of the Luthermergent National Survey from last spring. We tryed to imagine together what this network community might look like, might do and who we might serve. We didn't try to resolve all that.

Much more is to come. If you're interested in continuing the conversations started in Edina, whether you were part of them or not, email me (tksnyder(at)gmail(dot)com) and let's talk. In the weeks ahead we'll evaluate that gathering and we'll try to imagine next steps. There's still a lot of work to do, but I'm overjoyed to see the ways the Spirit is moving. 

communities :: links :: leaders

nadia bolz-weber // house for all sinners & saints (Denver)
mark stenberg // mercy seat (Minneapolis)
yehiel curry // shekinah chapel (Chicago)
russell rathbun // house of mercy (St. Paul)


Some questions that were asked:

What does "authority" look like in our communities of practice?

How can we document these stories from communities? What are they teaching us?

Who are we as a network? (Most who identify themselves as "luthermergent" are in conventional congregations)

How might we work with a broken denominational system? What might a network contribute that the ELCA can not/is not doing?

How can we better support communities and those working within conventional congregations?

How can we do this in conventional congregations anyways? (honestly, no clue)

coming soon: photo gallery from the annual gathering.

— tks


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