Where’s Your Hope?

In the Winter 2011 issue of Windows, alum Carol Howard Merritt reflects on themes in her recent book, Reframing Hope: Vital Ministry in a New Generation.

 

We want to know all the ways Austin Seminary graduates are experiencing revitalized ministry. To get you started, we’ve included some key concepts from Reframing Hope below. Tell us about your ministry or a ministry you know about in 50-100 words.

 

A new generation is longing for authentic community, a place that nurtures our spiritual lives and develops deep concern for one another.

 

We seek communities of faith that will hold us, communities within which we submerge ourselves into a river of sacred traditions centuries long.

 

Throughout our congregations, this renewed emphasis on the power of stories is changing the way we read, hear, and understand God’s word in the biblical text and how we reach out.

 

We are experimenting with different models of sustaining pastors in smaller churches.

 

We are reaching back to historic models, imagining what those practices would look like in a new context.

 

Reaching out begins with the practice of testimony, of sharing our lives with one another, and being fluent in talking about our spiritual journeys…What is new, what we are learning now, is how social media can enhance that connection.

 

Hope and activism are being reframed. An old hunger for the reign of God is taking on new vitality as we use new tools to reach out, inform, and connect with a new generation.

 

How are we teaching our children to love our Creator and to love and care for the creation? One way is by connecting the stories of our faith to our traditions and our practice.

 

In a culture where people are surrounded by sound and images that are masterfully designed to tell us we will never be successful, fulfilled, or satisfied enough unless we consume, there is a longing for spaces that give us time when we can hear ourselves thing and we can invite the voice of God.

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