The purpose of our initiative is to free up congregations in the shape of their own vocation and call. This shifts the identity of congregants from consumers to participants and co-creators. In turn, the role of pastors shifts from program management to the formation and freeing of people.
The following goals support this purpose:
- Congregations and congregants are able to discern the shape of their own vocation and call.
- They become more deeply rooted in their tradition while engaging the complexity of their context.
- They deepen their connection with God and their neighbor, particularly the most vulnerable.
- Congregations unleash a Pentecost of creativity that is supported by church leadership and the local training hub.
This initiative is vital to the mission of Street Psalms and builds on the success of our Preaching Peace initiative funded by Lilly in 2018. The two are inextricably linked. For example in Tacoma, we piloted the Preaching Peace table with more than 20 pastors (Catholic and Protestant). The model is simple. Pastors gather over a simple meal (sack lunch) to discuss the Gospel lectionary text they will be preaching on that coming Sunday. We ask each other a question: “How do we preach this text for peace in our city?” This is now happening in seven of our hubs.
We highlight the Preaching Peace work because we are convinced that healthy pastors are essential to developing healthy congregations.
The Tacoma Preaching Peace table has shared more than 300 conversations in the last seven years. Something happens when pastors consistently gather around what matters most to them. Genuine community is formed. We laugh together, we cry together, we even argue together. We’ve gone on retreats together and hosted lectures and workshops together. We’ve produced joint initiatives such as shared youth groups and pulpit exchanges. We’ve created Advent and Lenten devotionals for the city. And now in the wake of COVID 19 new dreams are emerging from the table that are radically impacting the city and her most vulnerable. Above all, we’ve become friends, and friendship is the foundation of all thriving.
Preaching Peace tables (or the dynamic equivalent) are essential to nurturing thriving congregations who Practice Peace. Why? Because leadership matters. This is why our Practicing Peace initiative will be shared in 5 hubs in our network who have launched and sustained healthy Preaching Peace tables.
Curious about the Animating Perspective of this Initiative?
- Geography: Be located in a Vulnerable Urban Context.
- Current Work: Already be facilitating a functioning Preaching Peace Table or Equivalent (Cohort of pastors/preachers who meet regularly around the text and ask “How would we preach this text for peace?”).
- Organizationally: Have the capacity to lead a Practicing Peace initiative.
If you feel you meet the key criteria please click the "Learn More" button to learn more and apply!