Just Launched: Metro Theology with Chip Graves

In 2012, The Very Rev. Dr. Chip Graves took the position of rector at Trinity Episcopal Church in Huntington,West Virginia. Once a thriving town supported by railroad and industrial money, for decades, Huntington’s economy had been suffering a depression. People lost their jobs, and urban flight was followed by urban blight. Once a flagship church in the region, Trinity had experienced declines in membership, energy, and participation.

Trinity’s congregation wanted to bring new life to their church. They also wanted to develop a deeper sense of connection with their local community. The church sought renewal through engaging a formula that Chip calls “metro theology,” which requires those who practice it to embrace the approach of loving God by caring for our neighbors.

Metro theology requires churches to review what resources they have and to look outside and see what their communities need. They then engage in aligning the  resources of the church with the resources of the local community to create a movement that opens the doors of God’s house to those who need it. Churches can do this work through tangible programs, financial assistance, food and fellowship, prayers and worship.The result can be transformation, both of the churches that reach out and of the communities to which the churches minister.

In this class, Chip discusses the four steps of metro theology.  Chip argues that metro theology is one way of being active in the Jesus Movement, “participat[ing] in the resurrection and healing of God’s world” and finding renewal through that process.

This class is ideal for congregations seeking new ways to participate in the Jesus Movement, seeking renewal, or looking for new ways to become involved in their local communities. For a preview of the course, please click here.

Image: Photograph of Huntington, WV skyline. Youngamerican. 14 June 2006. Creative commons.

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Missed The Big Class with Bishop Curry? No Worries. You Can Still Take It.

Royal WeddingThe Big Class: From Palace to Public Square — The Way of Love with Michael Curry is over — but your opportunities to take it have only just begun.

This class is now part of our regular library in both For Individuals and For Groups formats. You can add it to your congregation’s online school or buy it on its own.

Students across the world have offered insight about how the church has been given an opportunity to move forward in response to Bishop Curry’s lectures. Here are some student responses to discussion questions in The Big Class:

In response to a question about opportunities that have arisen in recent months to talk about the Jesus Movement with others:

WOW! Finally an answer I can believe in. I am one of those described in the introduction to this lesson who did not want to evangelize. I don’t think it is right to push my beliefs onto others. Bishop Curry’s positive evangelism is something I can get behind. If someone asks or is interested, I am willing to talk about my faith and beliefs as formed by the Episcopal Church, but I rarely start the conversation. Maybe now I can begin the conversation with the words of Bishop Curry.

Also:

The best opportunity is created by people’s positive reactions to [Bishop Curry’s] authentic enthusiasm about the love of God. For once, the media has shown not some crazy, fringe ‘Christians’ but a believer (Bishop Curry) who’s on fire with Christ’s love. This helps mainline folks stop being ashamed of being Christian and helps us have conversations with others that yes, this is who we are and what we believe.

In response to a question about how the church might realize Bishop Curry’s challenge to restore Jesus to the center of our faith communities:

Working in ecumenical and inter-faith groups, we should strive to spend more time with each other getting to know about religions and practices that are alien to us. I live in the most ethnically diverse diocese in the Episcopal church, yet many of our parishes are silos who have little interaction with other Episcopal churches, let alone with other faiths and denominations.

Also:

Our “parish” is outside as well as inside the walls of our church building and the message of the Jesus Movement needs to be offered accordingly.

The responses have gone on and on. In this course, participants have given serious thought to what Bishop Curry had to say in his sermon and in his lectures. Students across the world have responded with energy, intelligence, and creativity. Join them and bring your own thoughts into the worldwide conversation engendered by Bishop Curry’s work.

For a preview of the course, please click here.

 

Just Launched — From Palace to Public Square: The Way of Love with Bishop Michael Curry

Bishop Curry preaching at wedding.jpg

We have just launched our most recent Big Class — and our first course as a ministry of Forward Movement. The course is entitled From Palace to Public Square: The Way of Love with Michael Curry.

Curry Headline 3Bishop Curry’s royal wedding sermon “The Power of Love” garnered much attention from the press and on social media both during and after the wedding. The sermon’s main theme was that love has true power in the world — the love of  a couple getting married; the love of neighbor; the love of God. Bishop Curry preached in the African-American Curry Headline 1tradition, which was new to many of he people who watched the wedding. Both the content and the style of the sermon inspired discussion and provoked passionate responses.

 

Some argued that Bishop Curry’s message was exactly what our world needs to hear.

Some were inspired to see Bishop Curry preach so powerfully in the African-American tradition from the pulpit at a British royal wedding.

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And some enjoyed trying to interpret reactions from the congregation at a preaching style with which many were unfamiliar.

Bishop Curry’s sermon, in short, drew a great deal of attention and moved many who heard it. In this course, Bishop Curry discusses the experience of preaching at the royal wedding and the content of his sermon. He talks about how he creates sermons and how he used both a specific text from and the structure of The Song of Solomon as the basis for this one. He talks about the type of platform that this response to his “Power of Love” sermon has made available and how he wants the church to use that platform to offer a positive, non-judgmental, loving evangelism. Finally, he discusses the Jesus Movement, how it fits in with the message he wants to offer the world, and its place in the church.

This course is ideal for anyone who is interested in the Jesus movement, respectful evangelism, the royal wedding, or Michael Curry. For a preview of the course, please click here.

Image 1: Image: Bishop Curry preaching at the royal wedding. REUTERS/Owen Humphreys. Used with permission.

Image 2: People watching Bishop Curry preach at the royal wedding on a screen at Windsor. Photo credit: Matthew Davies/Episcopal News Service. Used with permission.

Image 3: @KalenaAnna. (2018, May 19). Tweet text. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/KalenaAnna/status/997805081096…

Image 4: @Coko316. (2018, May 19). Tweet text. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/Coko316/status/997804850292248…

Image 5: @JoshChesworth. (2018, May 19). Tweet text. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/JoshChesworth/status/997801217…