Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Ancient Future Disciples: Meeting Jesus in Mission-Shaped Ministries

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Ancient Future Disciples: Meeting Jesus in Mission-Shaped Ministries

Article excerpt

Ancient Future Disciples: Meeting Jesus in Mission-shaped Ministries. By Becky Garrison. (New York: Seabury Books, 2001, Pp. xi, 138. $18.00.)

Much has been written of late about "fresh expressions" of church-ecclesial communities established for the benefit of those alienated from conventional church life - but largely from the perspective of their leaders. In this lively compilation of stories, journalist and religious commentator Becky Garrison has done the subject a service by interrogating those who participate in such communities.

The book comprises nine case studies of (mainly Episcopalian) "edge communities" across the United States: an extension ministry with the Latino community in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; a transformative feminist liberation community in Austin, Texas; an outdoor ecumenical ministry with the un-housed in Boston; an arts congregation serving the community of the Lower East Side, New York; and so on. Each chapter details progressive, inclusive ways of connecting with people living in a postsecular culture and creating appropriate forms of Ghristian community for their particular contexts and needs. Some of these experiments still operate within an attractional model of church; others "go out" and form church wherever the needs are situated. But all are characterized by the offering of radical forms of welcome, an easy postdenominationalism ecumenism and the capacity to discern and utilize the gifts of all. A further common thread is the emergence of a desire for "greater intensity" in religious practice, often seen in the formation of a rule of life or the adoption of other "new monastic" practices.

While the volume contains two "interlude interviews" with bishops Thomas Shaw (Massachusetts) and Gregory Rickel (Olympia), there is no concluding chapter offering a neat summary of the topic. …

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