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  • Tim Blodgett

Community Church

Earlier in my career, I was a part of a lectionary group that was pivotal to my ministry. The group met on Wednesday mornings at Kamp’s 1910 Café in Oklahoma City. Over coffee and breakfast items, we solved all the problems in our respective churches and planned for the upcoming weeks of sermons and worship. The core group was four pastors serving four very different churches: one new church development, one historic and influential Oklahoma City church, one suburban church, and one small church in a small town. Other pastors drifted into and out of the group as they received calls in the presbytery and took calls in other parts of the country, including our current Co-Moderator Shavon Starling-Louis, but the core group stayed the same for many years. For as much as the group was about helping one another with the day-to-day life of the church (and we needed all the help we could get), it was also about forming a community in the midst of a ministry. We do a lot in the church. Sometimes we just need to be the church to one another. 


As I visit churches, read newsletters, and see the periodic Facebook, I notice a trend in how churches are organizing their time: they are doing less and being more intentional about how and why they gather. Part of the change is a result of the stripping down of church activities during the pandemic and not picking them back up afterwards, but more times than not it is an intentional action and discernment. How can the church best serve our members and the community? How can we best utilize our resources? How can we respond to the loneliness epidemic in our society? Where is Christ needed the most?


To say that things are changing is not to say that everything is changing. We are Presbyterian after all. Worship is always going to be central to our identity, but much of the rest of the life of the church is shifting. A group in one of our EOP churches meets regularly at a coffeeshop/restaurant for trivia night. Another church is offering a game night. Still another church group is working its way through Tulsa’s many breweries. Presbyterian Women and morning Men’s Groups have not been replaced, but they do have company in the active life of many congregations. And it is not all fun or social activities. Gathering to serve the community is showing renewed interest. Many churches are finding that individuals that might be reticent to volunteer by themselves at a food bank or non-profit are more than willing to join a church as they provide food for the unhoused, as they pack backpacks for school children, or as they do disaster relief. 


I love gathering for worship. I love the preaching, the choirs, and the praying together. Perhaps what I appreciate the most is the community of the church and the new expressions of that community that God is creating. 


Blessings,


Rev. Tim Blodgett

General Presbyter

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