New initiatives started by congregations, created by the Diocesan Convention or the Diocesan Council or envisioned by the Bishop. In this section you’ll learn about some of our newest adventures!
We believe that in today’s world, we need to try new things. The church has, for too long, watched a steady decline with a sense of despair and helplessness. We are fortunate to be living in a new age, when things are starting to turn around — but we know that the church of the future will not be the same as the church of the past. And none of us can confidently say what the church of the future will look like. We are living in the time between the times — so it is a time to try things. Some will fail, and that is OK. We will celebrate those failures and learn from them. Some will succeed and that is when we will celebrate and learn from them.
We invite you to explore some of our newest adventures. We’ve started a new church, Church of the Beloved, by and for those who have been involved in our camp and conference center as campers, counselors and supports. It doesn’t look like a traditional Sunday morning church. We just launching a worship service for the autistic community and one of our congregations has started a worshiping street church community. We’ve done Hispanic ministry for over 30 years, but we’ve just started a new congregation in the past year. And some of our congregations are exploring new ways to be “green” in a time when environmental stewardship is increasingly important.
The other major initiative has been the Center for Reconciliation which grew out of our seeking to discern how we could use the Cathedral building after services there were suspended due to the condition of the building and the lack of financial resources to support it and a ministry there. A diocesan-wide discernment process led us to the idea of using the building to be a place where people, especially Rhode Islanders, could engage the topic of racial reconciliation in a variety of ways and could receive training to enable them to be reconcilers. Check out the Center for Reconciliation‘s page for more information and sign up for the newsletter to stay connected to this new initiative.
Some things that are so new they don’t yet have a formal place on our website include two initiatives of Diocesan Council:
- Ministry with Older Adults: Rhode Island has the largest number of elderly per capita in the USA. How can we develop ministries by, with and for older adults? The first thing we’re done is provide training for congregational leaders in how to support individuals and families in dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease. But we have lots of other ideas that might take root somewhere….like finding ways to engage older adults as the COO of large congregations or setting up a church based “service corp” where older adults can volunteer to use their skills for a year or a season in another church across the country, or creating a service collective that enables people to “age-at-home” by pooling resources and contracting with a range of medical, transportation and social service agencies. What ideas do you have?
- Small Churches: We have about a dozen small churches — most of which provide vital ministries to their members and surrounding communities. How can we best support them in their ministry? How can we help them be sustainable without the pressure that they must become bigger (especially in areas where that isn’t really feasible)? We started with a highly successful Small Church Summit last fall and will sponsor another one this year. Keep watch for the date of the next Small Church Summit and see if you can come up with ideas for how we can support smaller congregations — and even start some. House churches, for example, are a growing trend. Should we be looking at starting new congregations in new places?