On the first night of the assembly, in the plenary commissioners, staff, and observers had the opportunity to view the final video contestants for the “What’s Your Story?”
The final contestants came from diverse communities ranging from a Korean Bible fellowship group in Chicago to a ministry focused on connecting food industry workers in Spokane, Washington. The grand prize winner was a community focused on arts and music in Orange, California, called New Hope Presbyterian Church. All five videos can be viewed here.
The videos came out of the 1001 Worshiping Communities initiative. From the website: 1001 worshiping communities is movement happening in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Across the PC(USA), God is raising up leaders in churches and presbyteries who are creating new worshiping communities. They are taking on new and varied forms of church for our changing culture. Primarily they are seeking to make and form new disciples of Jesus Christ, to change and transform the world. – See more here.
“The committee did an outstanding job wrestling with how the movement was being shaped and were energized by the excitement of the new communities that are coming to life,” said Philip Lotspeich, Coordinator for Church Growth in the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
There are bold dreams and hopes in the 1001 Worshiping Communities initiative. They include encouraging each mid-council to sponsor a training or awareness event on 1001 New Worshiping Communities in cooperation with the Presbyterian Mission Agency, to encourage sessions to pray for the fulfillment of the 1001 movement, to recommend each presbytery to view a new 1001 video at presbytery meetings, and to encourage each presbytery to start at least one new worshiping community within the next two years.
It’s fitting that this year’s General Assembly theme is “Abound in Hope” as Phillip Lotspeich says again, “What I find most inspiring is watching people come alive with hope. I think there are times when we act as if the meetings, reports, budgets and overtures are the work we’ve been called to do.
Yet when people are sent out to connect with real people on the streets, they find out the real work is born out in the relationships they establish and people with whom they connect. That’s where they come alive and feel energized for ministry. That’s hopeful for me and for the future.”
Mihee Kim-Kort is a teaching elder and staff for campus ministry UKIRK @ IU in Bloomington, Indiana.