Let’s shout it from the rooftops: all are welcome in this movement. We affirm, celebrate and develop the leadership of people of all sexual orientations, gender identities & expressions, races and ethnicity, ages, abilities, creeds, economic situations and backgrounds. We resist the the powers of racism, homophobia and sexism that have wounded and divided us, and we imperfectly seek creative and loving ways to let ourselves be transformed by story and relationship so that we might be powers of transformation in our city and world. We see and experience isolation and a fractured sense of community, but we also see that we are interdependent and deeply connected when we allow ourselves to be.
How did this start?
This new organization is the fruit of a collaboration between the Lutherans (ELCA) and the Methodists (UMC), especially Nativity Lutheran Church and Bend Church. This means we are gifted with the friendships and financial resources of these institutions, but it also means we inherit legacies that we are called to transform. We seek to appreciate the commitment to God’s grace and social justice that these traditions pursue, and we also imagine a community beyond denomination.
In other words: it’s less about being Lutheran and Methodist, and it’s more about community, belonging and meaning-making that transforms.
Do I have to be a Christian to belong?
If you have a story, you belong. We are activists, organizers, leaders. We are artists, care-givers, teachers. We are seekers, skeptics, and zealots. We are writers, techies, conveners. We are (almost all) human.We imagine a community in which creed and label do not unite or divide us, but that rather we might each dwell most deeply in the stories that help us make meaning. Jesus embodied vulnerability, resistance and peace-making, and we seek to learn from the wisdom that is still incarnate in ourselves and our world. Some of us will call that “Christian” and some of us will just call it trying to be a decent human. We will not be all things for all people, but our table is big enough to hold you, and we ask you to hold us to that.
We can find ways for all to be fed.
Is this a church?
No, it’s not church that values doctrine over relationship, comfort over inclusion, tradition over innovation. No, it’s not a church where one has to check their intellect, politics, body, identity and story at the door. That is church at its worst.
But yes, we trust that gathering together over conversations with depth, a good meal, laughter, singing, art, sacred text and relationships can change us and change our world. We have wounds and we have hope, and we try to be honest about both. That can be church at its best.
How are you funded?
We are seeded with generous grants from the folks at the ELCA and the UMC. But as we grow and discern our call as a community–affordable housing? cooperative childcare? co-working space and coffee shop?–our budget will need to grow. If you’re intrigued, let’s talk.
What is community organizing?
This new community is being formed using the arts of community organizing. This comes out of a tradition of people coming to know their own stories, growing in relationship with one another through those stories, discerning how those relationships can be powerful together, and acting out of that power to make impact for the sake of the common good. Got that?
And in a community that dwells in the Spirit, that means we celebrate, study, pray, discern, grieve and eat together all along the way. We always start with belonging, but when we realize we belong to one another and to God, we also realize we belong to our neighbor, and they to us. Out of that new knowing, we boldly walk and act together toward a new reality.