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.