St. Matthew’s Westerville is discovering how to be a church without it’s own building. This is the blog where they ask these questions: What is the point of this little house on College Ave., with its gazebo and front porch and open doors? Why are we here? We’re here at least in part because the old way of doing church, of being anchored to a beautiful building that requires so much time and energy and yes, money, isn’t working anymore. And even though this shift has been a long time coming, we’re still surprised and confused. But why? Why have we church people become so obsessed with our buildings? Jesus didn’t have a building. He didn’t do so much inviting people in to “his” space, and expecting them to be grateful. He went out, into the unknown, into places near and far, public and private. His life-giving ministry was one of constant movement, never stationary.
The Rev. Joseph Kovitch, serves as priest in charge to St. Matthew’s Westerville and has had a vision of helping an inherited church slowly transform itself into a Praxis Community – realizing that being the church means you can follow Jesus, love your neighbors, share in spiritual practices, and pay attention to what God is doing anywhere you are. His office is a local coffee shop, their Sunday morning service is held at Old Bag of Nails pub and hanging out on the front porch is a regular part of his job. The Columbus Dispatch just published a great story about the journey of St. Matthew’s under the leadership of Joseph. You can read the whole story here.
I particularly like this part,
“For Kovitch and members of his parish, Uptown Westerville has become their new church home. The congregation holds Sunday services in an upper-level banquet room at the Old Bag of Nails Pub. On Wednesdays, it offers Eucharist to those passing the gazebo outside its “Pray. Think. Love.” house. And on Thursdays, members meet for Uptown Crawl, visiting a different restaurant each week to discuss theology, spirituality or storytelling….Losing the building made the congregation vulnerable but also approachable, Kovitch said. “You find that the coffeehouses, the restaurants, the campuses, the neighborhoods become a parish. And we find that Old Bag of Nails can be a sanctuary, that a 19th-century house can become a chapel, and the front porch can be a fellowship hall.”
The neighborhood is our local parish! To follow more about what St. Matthew’s is learning by following the Spirit and listening to their community – follow their blog.