Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Faith: Not a Private Practice: New Community Covenant Church, Chicago

Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Faith: Not a Private Practice: New Community Covenant Church, Chicago

Article excerpt

Pastor Peter Hong asserts that Chicago's New Community Covenant Church "exists to provide an alternative to those tired of religion." But the four-year-old, ethnically diverse congregation certainly embraces its identity as both spiritual and religious. "So much of what has gone wrong in the evangelical community is this notion that the Christian faith is a private faith," says Hong. "It may begin as a personal faith, but it was never meant to be a private faith."

This distinction describes well a church equally invested in the spiritual lives of individuals and in its religious role as a corporate and communal body. Community is an underlying value of all the congregation's ministries, from service- and fellowship-oriented small groups to lay-led prayer before Sunday worship. Hong notes the closeness of the words "community" and "communion," a theological connection echoed by fellowship team leader Olivia Littles: "We talk about how Christ's death and resurrection reconciled us not only to Christ but also to the world."

New Community does more than talk about such doctrines. It strives to respond to Christ's apostolic call to geographically concentric circles of ministry, from local to global, because, as Hong explains, "we believe that this is where the heart of God is. …

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