What is an emerging church

IStock 000001565860XSmall Emerging Church is, for some, a controversial term. To claim that you are emerging can imply that you are leaving something else behind and if you are choosing to leave something it may be because it is no longer life giving.But the term can also ackowledge that to ‘emerge’ you must come forth from something and that this something is never left behind for it is part of the ‘ground of being’ from which we grow.

 

 

According to Richard Rohr: It seems to me that the emerging church is emerging because people are finding the ability to have a grateful foot in both camps—on in the Tradition (the mother church) along with another foot inside of a support group that parallels, deepens, broadens, grounds, and personalises the traditional message. But you don’t throw out the traditional message, or you have to keep rebuilding the infrastructure or creating a superstructure all over again.

This is a new kind of reformation in which we don’t react, we don’t rebel, we don’t start from zero again.
And so the appropriate questions are: What are you in love with? What do you believe in? What is the heaven that you have already discovered? What good thing do you need to share? This is the only work of soul.

In the uniting Church of Australia we name ourselves as a "pilgrim people", and we believe we are called to continually discern where God calls us to act.

In some senses Christianity has been emerging since the its birth.

Jesus stood in the temple and upturned the tables,

he stood before the woman upon whom stones were to be flung,

he opened up the possibility of grace for all,

he challenged the purity laws

and on and on and on...

And as we read in Paul's 2nd letter to the Corinthians: If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

According to Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger, in their book, Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures (Baker Academic, 2005)
Emerging churches are communities that practice the way of Jesus within postmodern cultures. This definition encompasses nine practices. Emerging churches (1) identify with the life of Jesus, (2) transform the secular realm, and (3) live highly communal lives. Because of these three activities, they (4) welcome the stranger, (5) serve with generosity, (6) participate as producers, (7) create as created beings, (8) lead as a body, and (9) take part in spiritual activities.

At St Andrews we are exploring what it means to live as an emerging community.
We do this by emphasising the experiential dimension of worship and by exploring the sacred texts through the lenses of post modernity.


We certainly have not let go of traditions, which are 'ever ancient, ever new', but we are allowing ourselves to hang out a little in the wild spaces of the questions and the breath.