Part of what we hope to create are expressions of church that engage with a changing culture and meet people who are seeking spiritual community in new ways. These kinds of church almost never arrive fully formed as a worshiping congregation. More often they come into being through a period of listening, through acts of love and service together, creating relationships and opportunities for community to develop and exploring questions about faith and discipleship. A worshiping community often emerges at the end of this process. That being said we have all different kinds of communities and experiments. Some of the experiments we created, things like flash compline, moveable feasts, or contemplative prayer gatherings have helped shape the communities that gather today. And we have found that inherited churches and fresh expressions of church are partnering together and learning from one another in exciting ways!
Northside Abbey is an emerging, experimental ministry in Northside. By drawing inspiration from ancient monastic heritage and rooting into the common context, we hope to host and create sacred space where community may be nurtured, questions might be asked, bread may be broken, meals and stories shared, justice and reconciliation pursued, and where creative collaboration might flourish.
Saint Matthew’s, Westerville, has been rethinking church for the last year. They’ve moved from a church building to a house on East College Avenue, with a beautiful gazebo where local artists perform, the priest holds regular discussions with passers-by, and that acts as a stage for their participation in street fairs and community activities. They gather for Sunday worship on the third floor of the Old Bag of Nails Pub, and host Pub Theology there on Wednesday nights. They’ve partnered with a local coffee shop to hold concerts and story telling nights. Through it all, they’re committed to being “The Weekday Church.”
New Hope Fellowship is a community of people from Africa living in the Dayton area. The fellowship gathers for worship in Kiryarwanda, the native language of Rwanda and also works to offer outreach and assistance to refugees and those new to America. They are building a community of support and friendship and working to unite people across difference. They worship at 1 pm on Sundays at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.
Shifrah is candlelight, contemplation and song in the heart of downtown Cincinnati. Shifrah is ancient tradition brought to life in and for this time and place. Shifrah (which means beautiful in Hebrew) is a new worship experience that runs in seasons that are each structured around a different theme and last 5-6 weeks. Each service includes a Via Sacra which includes time for walking, contemplation, visiting prayer stations and lighting candles. Shifrah gathers at Christ Church Cathedral on East Fourth Street on Sundays at 6 pm.