The initiative that started a church-wide movement celebrates at its roots.
The movement to add 1001 new worshiping communities in 10 years was first approved at the 220th General Assembly (2012) in Pittsburgh. Now two years later at the 221st General Assembly (2014), there is rejoicing over 247 new worshiping communities that are part of the fold.
“Many of our faith communities are in the process of becoming and many are changing,” said Roger Dermody, Deputy Executive Director for Mission in the Presbyterian Mission Agency. “I believe we need openness to fresh movements of God’s Holy Spirit, where people are gathering for worship in sushi bars, tattoo parlors, living rooms and pubs.”
There is no set model for a new worshiping community. Each one has its own identity, and there is great diversity in how the bodies are developing to meet the needs of their communities.
One example is a recreational vehicle park ministry in Southern California. Hope for Life Chapel, a ministry begun by Tamara John, connects with people who are lost, lonely, on the verge of homelessness, suffering from addictions and dealing with other brokenness.
John has been in similar situations, so she feels called to give back to a community others have chosen to forget. She also does this with and through the support of the Presbytery of Los Ranchos.
The 1001 new worshiping communities movement is an innovative way of thinking outside the church as steeple and sanctuary—how to meet constituents in venues that are more authentic for them, Dermody said.