Elaine Heath is the perfect person to speak to about the emergence of new expressions of Church. She’s one of those rare people who understands and can navigate the institution (she’s former Dean of Duke Divinity School and an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church), while at the same time has years of experience in small, experimental, missional communities. She’s a pioneer who through her writing, speaking and retreats, has opened up a space for many others to explore new forms of church a little more safely. So we took the opportunity to pick Elaine’s brain about the joys and heartbreaks of being a pioneer.

After the interview, Nomad hosts Tim Nash and David Blower reflect on the ups and downs of their own church journeys.

Interview begins at 10m 10s

Image provided by Elaine Heath. Used with permission.


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“What we’re after here is relationships that help each other participate with God and the world. And it’s not fundamentally about stuff – it’s not fundamentally about money, or giving stuff, or getting stuff. It’s fundamentally about helping people be faithful to God and love God and experience God’s love and be good neighbours – whether they live in an unhoused way or a house or whatever it is.”

“If we can come together around practices rather than dogma – if we can come together around spiritual practices of prayer, discernment, caring for our neighbours – and if we can come together around a spirituality of humility and recognition that we don’t know everything – the formal language for that is “apaphatic spirituality” (what we don’t know) – if we can come together and form some community around that, then…those kinds of practices and that kind of humility are what help us to actually love each other and to be willing to give each other benefit of the doubt. And we can actually be in the world together even if we have really marked differences in our theology and our doctrines. That could help us to get through this time of polarization and it could help to heal the polarization.”

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