Alban Weekly | PCUSA faith community takes flight celebrating Appalachian music and culture

5 months ago

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PCUSA faith community takes flight celebrating Appalachian music and culture
The drive to Indian Valley in rural Floyd County, Virginia, a beautiful mountainous region off the Blue Ridge Parkway, is a time of preparation for some travelers making the trip on a recent late Tuesday afternoon.
In mid-April, the rolling hills are bright green. Miles of split-rail fences pass in a whoosh. Grazing cows dot the hillsides. Blooming dogwoods and flame azaleas streak the roadways.
At the top of Macks Mountain Road, a large sign appears: Wild Goose Christian Community. A brick church painted white rises in the distance. At the top of the front stairs, two white rockers sit on either side of a plain colonial-style door.
Here, a group of mostly middle-aged people -- 16 this week -- gather on Tuesday evenings for a potluck followed by a conversation about the Christian faith, conducted in the round on mismatched rocking chairs.
"I know for me, personally, when I get in the car, church starts," said Greg Wolford, who drives an hour and 15 minutes from Roanoke, Virginia, to attend. "I start to get myself in a mindset of Wild Goose, and I stay that way until I get home."
That Wild Goose mindset is welcoming, open and supportive of mountain culture. It's especially appealing to Wolford, a 53-year-old computer professional who was born in the mountains but quit church more than 30 years ago.
Read more about Wild Goose Christian Community »
The Rev. Dr. Eric Barreto moved around a lot growing up. Born in Puerto Rico, he moved with his family to Louisiana, Missouri, Kansas and upstate New York -- all before he went to college in Oklahoma and then seminary in New Jersey. This experience taught him how to incorporate himself quickly into new communities as well as sharpen his own sense of identity within those communities. It's a skill he uses -- and teaches -- as the Frederick and Margaret L. Weyerhaeuser Associate Professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary. In his conversation with "Can These Bones" co-host Laura Everett, he talks about why it's important to bring events of the world into the classroom, what he has learned from teaching online, and why he is excited about the millennial generation.
Read or listen to this podcast »
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"Divergent churches" are exploring innovative ways of congregational life
Across the country, creative, alternative congregations are doing church in unconventional ways, the co-author of 'Divergent Church' says in this interview with Faith & Leadership. They may look different, but they are deeply rooted in tried-and-true practices of the faith.
Read more about "divergent churches" »
Teen's online church draws young people from around the world
Founded and pastored by a Tacoma teenager, The Robloxian Christians is a real -- albeit virtual -- church where young people gather to worship, pray and connect. And it has important lessons for those who lead traditional churches and church-related institutions.
 Read more about The Robloxian Christians »
Varieties of Gifts: Multiplicity and the Well-Lived Pastoral Life
by Cynthia G. Lindner
If there's one thing upon which contemporary pastors and their congregations can agree, it's that the practice of ministry in our rapidly changing, increasingly diverse context is a complicated business. Varieties of Gifts highlights the stories of ministers who thrive in this environment, offering inspiration to readers-ministers, seminary students, and people who care for them-on engaging their own multiplicity to build healthy, sustainable ministry. 
Varieties of Gifts illuminates the inner lives of clergy who lead with courage and creativity, stamina, and soulfulness. The author mines in-depth interviews with twenty pastors in order to demonstrate that the human experience of multiple-mindedness is an essential ingredient for healthy, innovative ministry. Cynthia Lindner, herself an ordained minister, pastoral psychotherapist, and professor, illustrates how the Christian tradition bears witness to creation's complexity, and how our own multiplicity mirrors God's abundance. Through the accounts of the pastors themselves, the book illustrates how well-tended ministerial multiplicity can cultivate a rich pastoral identity, navigate congregational conflict, and embrace change in rich, life-giving ways. 
Rather than an unattainable "quick fix," Varieties of Gifts profiles relatable pastors and congregations whose lives highlight the rich potential for multiple identities to enhance pastoral life, even in challenging times.
Learn more and order the book » 
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