“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.” ( Acts 2)
As a PresbyGeek or denominational nerd, I attend my fair share of national church gatherings. I’m always on the prowl to hear good news, insights, and innovative ways of rethinking church. Five years ago I attended what was then labeled as a “brand new gathering of Presbyterians” in Charlotte. They called themselves NEXT Church.
This gathering was unlike anything I had attended before. Rather than bemoaning the state of the church or how things aren’t as they used to be, I found leaders - ordained and not - engaged in thoughtful conversations about thinking of the church in a different way, of taking a chance to risk, of celebrating who we are and can be. Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of this event was that is was - by PCUSA standards anyway - far more culturally and ethnically diverse than other denominational gatherings. Yay! More people who looked and sounded like me, doing ministry, being PCUSA together!
Since then, I have attended the NEXT Church national gatherings in Chicago, Atlanta, Kansas City, and Baltimore. And in 2019 NEXT Church will be in Seattle. Yes, finally on the west coast!
Preparations have begun for Seattle Presbytery and Seattle First Presbyterian Church to host the event which usually gets about 400-600 attendees. We’ll need your help in order to roll out the hospitality. Please sign up if you’re interested in volunteering.
Mark your calendars for March 11-13. More details here.
The NEXT Church gathering will be a place where we can revel in teaching and fellowship, break bread and pray together.
In grace and hope,
Rev. Eliana Maxim
Associate Executive Presbyter