The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Just imagine

A congregation renews itself as members open their eyes to neighbors

Fifty years ago, Jesus Community Church was a vibrant place attended by many in the neighborhood, a place that tended to community needs. Gradually the area changed to a multicultural community. The church’s ministry was also challenged to change to accommodate new people and new expressions of faith.

But the church wasn’t up to that challenge. Gradually it faded into insignificance in membership and community relevance. Then the congregation called a pastor to continue what had become a chaplaincy ministry. But the new pastor and her family discovered the church was surrounded by a vibrant, culturally rich neighborhood—full of people from different walks of life, with differing notions of spirituality.

The pastor and her family began to share themselves with their new neighbors. Thechildren brought home friends from their schools. Her husband began relationships with co-workers of other cultures and faiths. The pastor explored the neighborhood—introducing herself, listening to the languages and rhythms of a multicultural community. She sampled different foods and various expressions of faith, and her appetite for both grew.

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March issue

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All are welcome