Monday, September 26, 2005

Our first meeting

Hey, I've been in a sea of both joy and stress from our first meeting, and then our second meeting, so I haven't blogged. But I was really, really thrilled to finally have our first meeting. Now after two years of prayer, preparation and planning (and freaking out) - we are finally a church.

We gathered in a circle, slowly more people came, until we had 10-12 people (I purposefully didn't count). We had a long time getting to know one another, then I shared about our plans for the fall, and then I talked about how we needed to start by having a time of making sure we were starting in faith and not in reactionism to hurts and frustrations with the church. We had a time of prayer to forgive if we had any of that in our past, and then asked the Lord to heal us. I believe this is an important thing for a new movement like the emerging church to do. We are the body of Christ, and this is one small evolution in our 2,000 year history, and being Christlike and moving out of love and always being quick to forgive is our unchanging 2,000 year old way.

My whole journey on this has been so based in prayer, so based in following Christ every small step of the way, that this was just so clear to me how we had to start. I deeply fear getting it wrong, being divisive or being deceived and so the only way I know how to go forward is by staying really close to Christ. He constantly said he only does and speaks what he sees the Father doing, and so that is my method.

We also had communion now both weeks which has been wonderful, we're trying different ways of doing it. Here is my big piece of solid church planting experience from the front lines...don't use crusty french breads for communion, they leave crumbs all over the floor.

After passing around that loaf, when we put all our chairs away, there was a circle of crumbs on the floor.

So, then the next week I buy this interesting looking loaf from a bakery, and it looks really soft and pliable and not crumbly - and so we open it up, and it's in a little silver tin, and that's there to hold the super buttery bottom! Just oozing, almost dripping with butter! Awesome. So we had to tear the top off and leave the bottom there. I'm starting to get a little idea of how the little communion wafers came into being.

More soon.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

COTA Begins!

The wonderful tale continues to unfold. We got the space I had hoped for in the East Village!

It's a wonderful old building that used to be a library, and then became a church, and is located right in the heart of one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Manhattan. There are a number of neighborhoods in NYC that could be considered as hotspots for the art scene - Chelsea, Williamsburg, Dumbo - but the East Village is carries far more historical weight, and continues to be far more vibrant with nightlife and incredible centrality to other key neighborhoods like Soho, Nolita, Chinatown and Little Italy. You really couldn't ask for a better spot.

For those in NYC, we are at 61 Rivington St. between 1st and 2nd Ave. Rivington is two blocks south of Houston (a fun connection for outsiders: Soho means SOuth of HOuston and is a few blocks to the west). You may have heard of Moby's tea place, Teany, it's also on Rivington just down the street.

We are going to be meeting every Thursday at 7pm, starting Sept. 15th.

Now we have our work cut out for us to pray and plan and prepare for our first full worship gathering in February 2006.

Friday, September 02, 2005


I've had two meetings now with a pastor who wants to help us, along with being asked to consider joining his denomination - though he will help us either way.

We are definitely going to get some space to use, but there have been some details to work out with the schedule. So, good news!

Also, I had been hoping we could get space eventually in a certain part of town (they have two spaces), and at first it looked like we were going to be in another part of town - but because of some of the scheduling issues, we talked again, and he thinks it would be better for us to be in the other part of town, the part I prefered! Also, this space has the potential to be our permanent space for a number of years - to be where we hold our first service in Feb. 2006. That would be great - no need to look for space, but just grow into what we have. (maybe the Lord is going to give us growth earlier than we expected!!??)

Also, they are only going to charge us a percentage of our offerings, rather than a set price we have to come up with!! So, no financial pressure. Maybe that's why we don't have a denomination yet and the money they would provide - we may not need it, and will be free to grow naturally and support ourselves right from the start. That is a miracle in NYC.

We are going there next week to view the space and decide where is best (plenty of choices, in a large space). So, this is all taking longer than I wanted, but when you are being graciously offered real estate in NYC, you go according to their schedule.

In addition, another offer of space has been made in a local ministry space that I think we might use for our start team (leadership core team) meetings on Sunday. So, in NYC we have more offers of space than we need - that, my friends, would be like a homeless person having more money than he had pockets to hold it in! What a blessing.