Journal of Education Beyond the Walls
Pastoral Leadership for Public Life
Journal of Education Beyond the Walls 2016
Volume 13 Editor: Melissa Wiginton Production: Randal Whittington Communitas: Journal of Education Beyond the Walls is published annually by Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, 100 East 27th Street, Austin, TX 78705-5797. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web site: austinseminary.edu/communitas
Entered as non-profit class bulk mail at Austin, Texas, under Permit No. 2473. POSTMASTER: Address service requested. Send to Communitas, 100 East 27th Street, Austin, TX 78705-5797. Printing runs are limited. When available, additional copies may be obtained for $2 per copy. Permission to copy articles from Communitas: Journal of Education Beyond the Walls for educational purposes may be given by the editor upon receipt of a written request. COVER ART: “Who is My Neighbor? (in the style of He Qi),” by Kristen Gilje; 9'x55," silk dye on silk © 2013, used with permission. Find more of Kristen Gilje’s work here: http://www. kristengilje.com// Artist’s statement: This piece was commissioned by St. Mark’s Lutheran Church by the Narrows in Tacoma, Washington. They wanted elements of church artist Dan Erlander (http://danielerlander. com) and He Qi (http://www.heqiart.com), as well as images that spring from this hymn: “Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us with Your Love” (ELW #708). The result was my original composition, “Who is My Neighbor?,” influenced by all the above.
Communitas is a term anthropologist Victor Turner uses to describe the temporary but intense community that develops among pilgrims for the duration of the journey (remember the pilgrims of the Canterbury Tales). For us in the church, it might describe the community we develop with the successive churches we serve, the community of cohorts of the College of Pastoral Leaders, or the small groups of learners through Education Beyond the Walls who gather to study together for a brief period of time. Turner also employs the concept of liminality to describe that pilgrim experience of leaving the domain of the familiar to travel and to experience new potentialities and powers that lie afield. We leave home, travel light, expose ourselves both to the unknowns in the world of the horizon and the unknowns within our own souls, now freed to be heard in the silence of the road. The learners and leaders we serve leave their ministry settings momentarily to hear the experiences of colleagues and the wisdom of teachers and to contemplate the ministries seeking to emerge from their own souls. So we are pilgrims beyond familiar boundaries, our experience shaped by communitas and liminalities.
Contents Introduction: Theodore J. Wardlaw . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 From the Editor: Melissa Wiginton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
4 8 12 15 18 24
Theology of Discomfort . . . . . . . . . . . . . Amos Humphries The 100-Foot Journey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Leslie King Accompaniment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Paul Bailie More Than a Handout . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jorge Zayasbazan Prophet, Priests, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jim Coston and Predatory Lending Cultivating Resilience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Andrew Fiser
or twelve years before coming to Austin Seminary fourteen years ago, I served as the pastor at Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. One of the oldest churches in the city, it lifted its gothic spire up into the face of the Georgia Capitol Building; it presided as “an island of delight,” as one of its parishioners used to call it, over the center of that enormous city. People came from all over the metro area to take part in the liturgical, programmatic, artistic, missional, and social justice expressions of that church’s life. From its impressive buildings, the church sponsored a daily child development center, an outreach advocacy center, an ambulatory health care clinic, and a night shelter in its gymnasium during the cold-weather months. My office was on the first floor of a four-story administration and classroom building just off of a courtyard that faced, across the street, the imposing front façade of the Capitol. That courtyard was a busy place in the daytime, even on weekends. One Saturday, I was busy doing my pastoral work. Sitting behind my desk, and having finished my sermon, I called a few parishioners to check on them— home from the hospital, or grieving a recent loss, or needing to talk to me about an upcoming committee meeting. I perused the bulletin for the next day, making some notes about things to announce in worship, thinking about the Monday morning staff meeting agenda, things like that. Suddenly I heard a knock at one of my office’s windows. Then a knock at the next window down. Then a frantic knock on the door that swung out from my office onto a covered cloister which I would often take to the elevator down to the parking garage. I looked outside a window and saw that it was a street person, and so I tried to ignore him. “Too bad the Outreach staff isn’t here today,” I thought to myself. But as the knocking continued, I felt my annoyance rising at the man’s interruption of my work as a pastor. My work as a pastor. All the phone calls, the sermon, the bulletin, the meeting agendas. My work as a pastor. In a huff, I finally opened the back door to my office. Usually used as an escape hatch, it became on this occasion a door into my heart, reminding me of something that I had almost forgotten. “’Scuse me, Reverend, but I’m hungry.” He reminded me by his presence that, on that occasion, he himself was the most important work I had as a pastor. I thought back to that vignette as I read through the following essays by various members of our 2014 PLPL cohort. Their work as pastors, my work as a pastor, your work as pastors and parishioners … it’s often the work that appears while we’re busy making other plans. Enjoy your reading; it’s about your work as a pastor!
Theodore J. Wardlaw President and Professor of Homiletics
From the Editor
he six writers for this issue are pastors. By calling, by choice, by continuous commitment, they pour out their lives in service to the Body of Christ. Their voices carry theological echoes, but they are not first scholars of theology. Their work carries justice, but they are not first social activists. They are stewards of the mysteries of God asking how pastoral leadership connects with public life. Our writers are a subset of the 2014 Class of Fellows in Pastoral Leadership for Public Life (PLPL). Established by Austin Seminary in 2014, the PLPL Fellowship responds to an invitation—and a grant—from Lilly Endowment Inc. Lilly Endowment has long invested in preparing and sustaining pastors for excellent leadership; the College of Pastoral Leaders originated as part of their effort. PLPL aims to intervene at a particular stage of pastoral development: the first third of the career. We believe that when the shine has rubbed off the practice of ministry after about five years, pastors need new experiences to embolden them and to ignite imaginations for the next chapter of the story. We want to engage pastors who are competent in the skills needed for good ministry and are ready for something more, something that stretches them toward new possibilities. The PLPL Fellowship broadens Fellows’ visions of public life, increases their confidence to act in public realms, and grows their capacities to do theological reflection about common life. PLPL Fellows from different Christian traditions form a learning community that meets together eight times over the course of eighteen months. They gather to learn together from public leaders across different spheres and to practice theological reflection. They try some kind of public engagement at home between meetings and process their actions together to distill learning. We currently draw from the Waco-San Antonio-Austin region so that relationships made during the Fellowship might continue and perhaps manifest on the ground. Our purpose is neither to prepare public policy experts nor to train activists or organizers—though Fellows may be led in those directions as a result of the experience. Our purpose, rather, is to give structure and support for good pastors to become leaders who ask questions as Christians about the public good. The 2014 Fellows considered issues of water, disparity and disproportionality in health and human services, race, conflict from the local to the international, the politics of food, land use, and civic responses to generational poverty. They learned that many public leaders want to hear what they have to say. They found ways to do things they did not think could be done. They rediscovered, redefined, and reupped their vocations. They connected with the unlikeliest of other pastors—now friends who will help sustain each other in the practice of ministry. With these pieces, we offer you a glimpse inside the imagination and the invigorated agency of six different pastors. I hope you will be inspired. Recruitment for the 2018 class begins in the fall.
Melissa Wiginton Vice President for Education Beyond the Walls
Theology of Discomfort Amos Humphries
alking into the new church was a bit overwhelming. There were a lot of white, wrinkled faces with blue hair. Eighty percent of the congregation was retired, and my three children immediately doubled our childrenâ€™s ministry. My family and I were coming from a vibrant ministry where I oversaw a youth group of 140 and regularly served thousands. The Waco church hired me because I was young and because of my success as an outreach minister in Downriver Detroit. My new church hoped I could save it from death by attrition; the four funerals I performed within the first six weeks highlighted the urgency. Park Lake Drive Baptist Church, like many churches, had taken a stay-comfortable approach toward changing times. Factions choked progress for the sake of a false sense of peace and harmony. The influence of long-dead power players hung over the church like the Ghosts of Ministry Past. Some still-living longtime members stayed home, but wielded control by proxy during business meetings. At the core of this struggle not to change lay their fear of losing control, and more importantly, their fear of losing the community the church had developed for seniors.
Amos Humphries is more popularly known as the husband of Mariah Humphries or the father of teenagers Clay, Juliane, and Hannah. He serves as the senior pastor of Park Lake Drive Baptist, a multi-ethnic, multi-generational church in Waco, Texas. 4
Theology of Discomfort I sometimes wondered if I was going to be the last man standing with the unfortunate responsibility of boarding up the windows. As I waited for the inevitable phone call directing me to the next funeral, I began to struggle with the stark reality that if we did not grow younger as a congregation, we would eventually cease to exist and the heritage would be lost. With the help of Michael Godfrey, a lifesaving career coach, I recognized my calling as the Gatekeeper of the Heritage for this dying generation. I realized that my experience of this process in my home church uniquely qualified me to tackle this responsibility. Through prayerful enlightenment, I realized that to preserve this church we needed to appeal to a new generation while honoring those who in years past had sacrificed to establish a community of hope in North Waco. The practice of generational change is necessary for a congregation to participate in public life with authenticity. If a congregation cannot effectively engage its own internal political process for positive change, then what business does it have engaging the greater community’s political process in response to the Christian social ethic? The goal of generational change is not to switch the church into a younger version of itself; it is, rather, to evolve into a witness of full Christian community. Then it can model for the greater community what God can do in the lives of people who accept his truth. The church only makes the generational shift successfully if the older members of the congregation change. If a younger person does not like the traditional hymns, he or she simply leaves for a more contemporary setting. It is the whitehaired grandmothers and the balding grandfathers who stay. They must be willing to endure the discomfort of singing the same seven words eleven times over to music that they find loud and annoying. They do it so that young families can feel comfortable in the pews that they, the older generation, have paid for sacrificially. I hoped I could skillfully and gently guide our congregation through a painless process of generational change. Over time, I settled into the truth that people will be hurt by change. The process of initiating change that eventually hurts people was difficult for me, the one who helps hurting people. But I knew that if we did not change, we would die. What would hurt these senior members more—a church that functioned and worshiped differently or a church that was inept and waiting for the last few alive to board up the windows? Early in my ministry an old deacon asked what I was going to do to get the “Mexican” couple living across the street to join our church. I laughed. I told him the church was having a hard enough time meeting the needs of my young family, much less those of the couple across the street. Our need to grow younger was challenge enough. Tackling ethnic, racial, and economic diversity seemed beyond what was possible. Still, there was something about his question that was relevant to our future. We are a neighborhood church in a neighborhood where thirty percent of the population is of Mexican descent and ten percent are African American. If we were going to continue to grow and minister to our neighborhood, we would need to become not only multi-generational, but also multi-ethnic.
Communitas After three years of changing everything we could without affecting the older, established members, it became clear to Clint Brown, our administrative pastor, and me that we had to change the way we worshipped to continue our move to become younger and more diverse. This is when the proverbial peace and harmony hit the fan. Over the next six months $33,000 walked out the door. I heard so many rumors about myself that even I began to dislike me! Someone suggested early on that we go to two services, one contemporary and one traditional. I knew this was coming, and I knew that to save our fellowship, I had to say no. We were not moving forward as two congregations, one older and dying and the other young and growing. We were going to grow young together or we were going to die together. We were one congregation—one church who worshipped one God in one Baptism as one Body. This is when I began to develop the Theology of Discomfort. The cross is a place, a state, of supreme discomfort, yet Jesus bids us to pick up our cross daily to follow him. I want to take that directive to Sundays and to our individual comfort level in worship. This Theology of Discomfort forces me to realize that it is in my discomfort that I can see more clearly God work in my life and in the lives of others and that the world does not revolve around me. I believe God heals through this discomfort. We began to mix contemporary and traditional music. As uncomfortable as it was for older Christians, their maturity was rewarded as younger families began joining our fellowship. Our congregation gradually shifted from eighty percent retired to eighty percent working or younger. But the discomfort was only beginning. Two years ago we began to speak Spanish in our services, though only three people in the room were bilingual. Each song had English and Spanish lyrics, the readings were done in English and Spanish, and we provided a Spanish Bible study on Wednesday nights. The couple across the street started coming! Now a third of the congregation is bilingual or speaks Spanish only. Our worship service now is truly integrated. We sing traditional hymns, contemporary praise and worship, and Black gospel—in English and Spanish, led by an African American woman in her twenties. Each person in the room is uncomfortable at some point, either when they hear a style of music that does not appeal to them or when they hear a language other than their own. In that moment of discomfort we are all forced to recognize the value of someone else’s tastes and tradition in our fellowship. We value our diversity, and this allows the discomfort to be put into perspective. Worship is not about our comfort; it is about our God. When it becomes about comfort, it stops being worship and turns into entertainment. A watershed moment in our development came when the couple across the street joined the church. I dedicated their granddaughter, and as I walked around the sanctuary during the service holding the baby, I made sure I stopped by that old deacon who had challenged me. I put my hand on his shoulder and praised him and the other older members for the hard, uncomfortable decisions they made to allow us to have that moment. I believe—in fact, I am convicted—that you cannot
Theology of Discomfort change the ethnic or generational makeup of your church and not change the way you worship. Hispanics, African Americans, and young people walk into my church now, and they know they are accepted and valued because they can see and hear their cultural traditions reflected in our church services. We have further to go to reflect our neighborhood, but we are closer than we were six years ago. As I reflect on our hard-fought unity and harmony, I see how God uses difficulty to bring us into a clearer understanding of his grace and love. Nobody wants to hurt, but it is in our wounds that we experience the healing and reconciling power of God. The cross is uncomfortable, as is fear of losing control and of dying out, but it is in these dark alleys of human existence that the light of Godâ€™s compassion draws us into his mercy and heals the rifts that divide us. v
The 100-Foot Journey Leslie King
leventh Street is a simple two-lane blacktop that runs between Austin and Franklin Avenues. As one of Waco’s older streets, it has witnessed the downtown area’s early affluence as well as years of decay. The street shows no sign of stress or fracture, yet at times it feels as if a great fault line runs beneath it, threatening to pull it asunder. On the east side of the street, the sun rises over First Presbyterian Church of Waco, a century-old church sanctuary. The church’s stained-glass windows face west, and so cannot catch the early morning rays that come shining over the top of the building. The light spills through the dense canopy of live oaks onto the ground, casting long shadows. The position of the windows is unfortunate. Embedded in these dark, heavily leaded windows are the stories of resurrection, vineyards, and heavenly visitors of hope and mercy. For now the stories are shadowed. An off-duty police officer, hired by the church, patrols the east side of 11th Street. He is used to mediating the shadowy places. Across the street, just one hundred feet from the church, sits a run-down motel. So run down and dogged, some call it the no-tell motel. Each room has a big
Leslie King is one of the pastors at First Presbyterian Church of Waco, Texas. She is the wife of DJ King and the mother of three teenage children, Cody, Katie, and Claire. In addition to her congregation and its ministry, she enjoys quilting, running, and reading. 8
The 100-Foot Journey picture window and one can see clearly that the light-darkening material of the curtains is brittle and cracked, peeling away from faded and tired fabric. Morning light pours over the two-story motel where people of all colors and shapes are sitting outside their doorways on folding chairs or curbs. From the upper to the lower levels they call and respond to one another. Laundry is brought to hang over handrails. Stray dogs and cats skulk across the vacant parking lot. In the center stairwell stands one man, wearing a white sleeveless undershirt. His arms are folded. He is the watchman for his side of 11th Street. The sun will set on his side. Such are the two worlds held together by concrete and rebar. I serve as pastor and head of staff at First Presbyterian Church of Waco, Texas. The congregation is committed to a downtown presence even though many of its members live in the suburbs and outlying towns. They have provided generous ministry over the years. And even as the city center has changed, they have sought to be faithful. Our neighborhood, as it now stands, represents both opportunity and liability. We are not sure how to be a good neighbor without being overrun by needs that even a host of agencies in town cannot meet. We are not sure how to be a good neighbor without prematurely letting down our defenses, risking our own security, and forfeiting our congregational culture. This is the story of our initial exploration to answer the question, “How shall we be a neighbor to our neighbors?”
The First Traverse It is the season of gratitude. A group from the sunrise side of 11th Street makes a bold plan to cross the street with Thanksgiving meals. The meals are warm but the hands that cradle them are clammy with trepidation. I remind the group, “We are going to cross the street and walk right up to the doors. But don’t go into the rooms. God only knows what will be in the rooms. Stay safe and visible.” We walk across 11th Street, as if we were walking to the edge of the universe, and began to knock on those doors. Some residents respond with wonder and fear. They yell from behind closed doors to just leave the food. Others open the doors with ease. There is joy and surprise. They shed tears at being remembered. They welcome us inside for prayer and introductions. Though my instructions not to enter the rooms were clear, human beings are compelled by genuine hospitality. The doorways become a portal to an alternate universe that is sacred rather than scary. We stumble through the experience and realize we are participating in the most exquisite of prayers. With meals delivered and mission accomplished, the congregants scurry back across the street. We are thrilled by the adventure and by our connections. Gathering in the church parlor, we dive into consultation. As if to graft the experience into our long-term memories, collectively, we count the number of people we served. We share the names we learned and associate them with room numbers. We wonder who else among our congregation might like to participate in this experiment of faith. So we began to tell our story and others in our congregation begin to allow their imaginations to stroll across 11th Street.
Communitas The Second Traverse Inspired by the Thanksgiving story, one member plans with a small cohort of congregants to hire a Taco Truck to serve free tacos and coffee in the vacant parking lot on the west side of 11th, the sunset side of the street. It’s the Sunday after Easter and the stained-glass windows come alive with an early morning flip of the switch. Light pours from one hundred sanctuary bulbs. Across the street neighbors might now plainly see the windowed stories of resurrection, vineyards, hope, and mercy. That is, if they were looking at the church, but today the Taco Truck is the purveyor of hope, mercy, and resurrection. Forty plus sunrise people walk across the wilderness of 11th Street and into the parking lot of the motel dressed in their Sunday best. Some come with their strollers, others with their canes. Some come in groups and others, alone. Sleepy folks dressed in pajamas, folks who weren’t planning on going to church, spill out of the motel rooms. Motel-i-fied and Church-i-fied people form a single line to wait for their tacos. The line is awkwardly mingled. No one has to ask to receive. No one has to give out of a sense of obligation or guilt. So, for now, tongues are beautifully tied. Eye contact and smiles take up the slack. Everyone practices humanity. There is no language of love here, no skillful homiletics. Instead, there is the embodied and awkward company of those who have little practice of such an experience; the welcoming of the prodigal, the anointing of a woman, the care to a Jew by a Samaritan. This is the ill-at-ease reality of people groping toward some understanding, some acceptance of the other. There is grace. A woman from the sunrise side has baked cookies, a sweet token to finish off breakfast. The awkward and practicing people seem delighted and relieved by her offer. The church bell tolls and the congregants return to their sanctuary. The patrolman strolls over for a taco. A man from the sunset side tries to pay for his breakfast taco. The Taco Truck owner reminds him that there is no need. The motel man insists, he can pay and wants to pay. He makes his contribution to the radiant morning.
The Third Traverse It is now the season of summer heat. Another group of congregants gathers in the beauty of the church parlor. We gather just in front of a small stained-glass window given by a university professor, a poet who spent his life teaching freedom in communist China. We, too, are working on a freedom, a freedom from our assumptions and prejudices, from all that holds us captive to ourselves. We organize questionnaires, clipboards, pens, and gift cards. We will cross the street to camp out in the vacant lot on canvas folding stools and wait. Residents of the motel emerge from their rooms. By now some of them are familiar to us and with us. “Would you be willing to answer a few questions?” we ask. The reply is cautious. “What ya’ll want to know?” “We would like to ask your opinion about what would make Waco a better place to live.” Over the course of three days, we conducted twenty-two interviews.
The 100-Foot Journey Our interviews revealed a complex of felonies, substance addiction, and mental illness. With these interdependent problems brought into full relief, a heavy pause descended as we reviewed our results. The most tenderhearted among us spoke first. “I bet they won’t see a tougher picture than this in all the results they gather.” She was speaking of Prosper Waco, an organization charged with finding solutions for health, education, and financial security. It was Prosper Waco that encouraged community engagement. We had walked 100 feet to engage our neighbors with questions for which there were no easy answers. We did not pity Prosper Waco when we handed off our results. We have not heard from them since. But, of course, they are just beginning their work, and so are we.
Epilogue It is the season of light, the Christmas season, and I am searching for an ending to this story of beginnings. What I found was a moment of encouragement to continue the journey. It came unexpectedly. Following a mid-morning Christmas Day service, I walked alone to my car. I always park facing 11th street. I was asked when applying for the pastorate of First Presbyterian if I would find the inhabitants of the motel across the street intimidating. I answered no, and my answer was truthful. I did not feel afraid, but sometimes I felt at a loss, like there was something I should say or do, but I didn’t know quite what. On this mid-winter morning, a man my age, we’ll call him Paul, was standing in the lot of the no-tell motel with a group of other men. He yelled above the joyful cacophony of their voices. The strength of his call carried across 11th Street, “Merry Christmas Leslie!” The call landed deep within the wellspring promised to each believer … my wellspring.1 What bounded back was the most joyous feeling that found a voice, “Merry Christmas, Paul. Merry Christmas ya’ll.” It felt good to meet and greet a neighbor. Smiles, waving hands, and a quivering Spirit flowed back and forth across 11th Street, from Paul’s heart to mine, from my heart to his, from our hearts straight into the heart of God.2 v NOTES 1. John 4:15 2. John 4:14-15
Accompaniment Paul Bailie
glesia Luterana San Lucas is a Spanish-speaking congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Located in Eagle Pass, Texas, along the US-Mexican border, it is a community that knows well the geography of fear, violence, disaster, and poverty. It is just the kind of place where middle-class congregations seek to enact Jesusâ€™ command to love our neighbors by gathering canned goods for food pantries, mailing mission support checks, and traveling in church vans to do service projects. The property at San Lucas functioned long ago as an orphanage, so there are plenty of dormitory rooms available for visiting church groups to stay and do service projects or immerse themselves in the cross-cultural nuances of the Mexican border. When I accepted the call five years ago, I was eager to facilitate mission visits from such churches. Now, I am interested in relationships that recognize real differences and that bring mutual benefit instead of reinforcing dependency. I have seen beautiful service and ministry with our mission partners, but I have also been witness to, and participated in, racism and failures of cultural un-
Paul Bailie is pastor of Iglesia Luterana San Lucas, a Spanish-speaking congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America near the United States-Mexico border in Eagle Pass, Texas. A graduate of Augustana College and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, he interned at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church of Manhattan and previously served Amazing Grace Lutheran Church in suburban San Antonio.
Accompaniment derstanding that are hurtful. For instance, several years ago, a group from an Anglo congregation in a large city came to Eagle Pass to repair homes. They arrived at the home of a San Lucas parishioner and immediately started climbing on the roof and poking at siding—without first meeting the family or making any attempt to connect with them. The residents were offended by the lack of engagement. In my early days at San Lucas, a member of a wealthier, whiter congregation asked me if she could send us the leftovers from her congregation’s garage sale. I politely said okay and gave her my business card. In hindsight, I wondered, “If they don’t want that junk, what makes them think we do?” After several Christmases, I grew weary of our mission-partner congregation sending yet another check designated specifically to buy toys for the children. In truth, we had more pressing needs, like replenishing the food in our food pantry. I sent the check back. At the time, I thought it was a teachable moment from a provocative pastor. Now I realize that I probably ostracized and offended a generous financial donor. These types of incidents have convicted me of the importance of doing cross-cultural mission with a spirit of accompaniment that aims toward mutuality and dignity. I understand that wealthier churches are seeking to meet a perceived need. However, they risk turning people living in poverty into objects needing relief. It is too easy to fall into a colonialist imbalance of power: some give while others receive; some teach while others learn. White suburban Christians (myself included) want to feel useful, but if we are not careful, we end up serving our own needs rather than the congregations we set out to help. Witness photos and narratives that put more emphasis on what the givers or volunteers are doing than on the local community. I sometimes call it “poverty porn” because it makes us feel good while it objectifies the poor person. The images focus on the person’s poverty rather than his or her identity as a beloved child of God. Outreach that focuses on the giver can also foster an unhealthy sense of dependence in the recipient. During my first year living on the border, the congregation and I were getting ready for a visit from a church in Iowa. I was about to fill up the church van with gasoline when a parishioner told me, “Espera. No lo hagas ahora. Vienen los de Iowa. Tienen tarjetas de credito.” Wait. Don’t do it now. The Iowans are coming. They have credit cards. For years, the congregation had been an inward-focused place. It was a community of close friends who worshipped and fellowshipped together, but it was also a place built on a model of stewardship and mission that did not treat everyone in the community the same way. In the late 1990s, for example, San Lucas was receiving about five times more in grant money from our denomination than we do now. All that money needed to be spent or it would not be given the next year. People were getting paid to come to church; almost no one volunteered. Any task in the church, like teaching Sunday school or helping in the food pantry, would come with a little bit of cash. A few parishioners received monthly stipends and I do not know why. It has been a long struggle to move out of this mindset. The interim pastor before me did a lot of work on this, but it is tough. We are, however, starting to have new
Communitas families that do not know the old system. In reality, the congregation depends on the benevolence of the givers to survive. Thus, making the change from an unequal, charity-based model to a more just and equitable companionship model is a heavy challenge. I am grateful for the relationships San Lucas has with other congregations, but I get uncomfortable when it feels like we are putting on a show just to get financial support. The socioeconomic or immigration status of parishioners means they do not always have a voice in society. My goal is to encourage leadership development and opportunities for voices to be heard. The congregation is accustomed to topdown pastoral leadership and often resists efforts to affirm local leadership. In my first year at San Lucas, I wanted to work together to form a congregational vision statement. I scheduled a series of listening sessions to ask parishioners to identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for the congregation. The meetings were sparsely attended. When I mentioned this to parishioners, one responded, “You are our pastor. You tell us your vision, and it will be our vision.” I struggle with the balance between being a decisive leader and abusing the authority of my education, position, and privilege. After five years, San Lucas is just now on the cusp of progress and transformation as a congregation. We are shifting away from hosting large visiting congregational groups and leaning more toward seminary and campus ministry groups that focus more on the building of relationships and cultural immersion than on service projects. After two January terms of hosting a seminarian, we have found that having an individual with us for a longer period of time is better than a shorter visit from a larger group. San Lucas is ideal for a college student seeking an immersion or for a clergy person on sabbatical. I wish that I had easy answers for the problem of power imbalance in crosscultural mission relationships. I wish we could just follow some program or plan. If San Lucas were to intentionally host lots of groups with a non-equitable charity model, we would probably be very successful. Local people would get free stuff, and visitors would get a warm fuzzy feeling about “helping others.” Yet so often this help is not all that helpful. Like an addict jonesing for the next fix, we have become dependent on ministry forms that perpetuate systems of injustice and misbalanced power. It is time for us to build a more mutual model where local people work alongside volunteers, a model where we can learn to be church together. We are not there yet, but I believe that as followers of Christ, we are moving toward it. v
More Than a Handout
More Than a Handout Jorge Zayasbazan
hey line up in the oppressive afternoon heat for hours to receive their monthly ration of free groceries. The colorful San Antonio Food Bank truck is a beacon of hope for the hungry. Each person has a personal story of woe. Some struggle with addictions, others with chronic illness. Some have a readily identifiable disability but, for others, there is the less visible mental illness. I once asked a food pantry manager how she knew that her pantry clients were qualified. She said. “If they are willing to wait in line for food for two hours, they qualify.” That was a great answer. Stories of abuse are anecdotal and, even then, rare. There are a few in this line who don’t really need the food, but it’s free and, once you have experienced food insecurity, you can never have enough food on hand. Occasionally a volunteer would put groceries into an expensive-looking car, prompting grumbles and complaints. I suggest that, perhaps, this person has just lost his job or the vehicle is borrowed. We can be quick to judge the worthiness of those to whom we provide charity. We can neither look into the heart nor fathom the depths
Jorge Zayasbazan is senior pastor of Baptist Temple Church in San Antonio, Texas. He has a heart for the city and has helped revitalize churches in Miami, New Orleans, Chicago, and San Antonio. He serves on the Texas Christian Life Commission, the Executive Board of Texas Baptists, and is on the adjunct faculty of the Baptist University of the Americas. 15
Communitas of anotherâ€™s despair. Churches find that hunger ministries attract a lot of volunteers from within and outside their congregations. There is little debate about providing food to the hungry. It can bring us joy as we identify with Jesus who fed the multitude and taught us that when we feed the hungry, we are feeding him. Fighting hunger also inspires secular people to action. Schools, businesses, and civic groups gather large quantities of canned goods for the hungry. Food banks acquire a phenomenal amount of food and then distribute it to churches and nonprofits that place the food in the hands of the needy. This efficient process allowed the San Antonio Food Bank to distribute more than fifty million pounds of food last year. The majority of food recipients are under 18 and over 60. Providing resources is the most basic level of hunger relief. These efforts include free school lunches and breakfasts, summer feeding programs, emergency food pantries, and supplemental food distributions. The amount of food being collected and distributed continues to grow but so does the number of families that are food insecure. The director of a San Antonio non-profit observed that, after twenty years of feeding their community, they are now serving the adult children of their clients, too. It seems that we are much better at feeding the poor than at helping them escape their poverty. In 2014, Baptist Temple in San Antonio decided to try to help our food pantry clients break the pattern of perpetual assistance that can rob people of their power and contribute to an ongoing sense of helplessness. We implemented a system that would enable clients to earn points to spend at the pantry in whatever way they deem best. This is a vital area of growth for people whose options are limited in most areas of life. Instead of waiting in line for food someone else has chosen for them, they select their own items off the shelf just as they would in a grocery store. In addition to food, available items may include clothing, personal hygiene products, and school supplies. The point system challenges clients to practice financial skills and to make choices about what is important for them and their families. Clients earn points by taking steps to improve any aspect of their lives, such as taking classes, keeping healthcare appointments, and job training. Each client meets with a mentor prior to accessing the pantry. The mentor is a combination of case manager, life coach, and friend who helps people discover their assets and strengths while connecting them to needed training and activities designed to build competence and self-worth. This one-on-one relationship enables us to help people begin addressing the root issues that caused them to seek assistance. One client recently commented that the mentoring was more important to him than the food. He said it gave him hope, clarity, and a plan for the future. He applied for and received help for which he had not realized he was eligible. Jesus promises an abundant life. This includes physical, spiritual, and emotional vitality. I believe the church is uniquely positioned to help people achieve this level of wholeness.
More Than a Handout One man who came to us had tapped into all the available resources but, for some reason, the help for which he was eligible did not arrive. A careful analysis and a few phone calls revealed that everything was in order and there was no explanation for the delay. The mentor decided to ask the man about his spiritual life. He revealed that he was once very devout, but the death of his son had caused him to turn his back on God. That cathartic moment revealed his need for God and brought relief. The burden he carried was lifted and his relationship with God restored. The money came eventually, and in the meantime the delay allowed us to address his true needs, which turned out to be spiritual as well as physical. This ministry is still a work in progress for Baptist Temple. We know that the poor will always be with us and that we are to share our resources with them. Those resources include access to a better quality of life, one that is more independent, where parents have the resources to purchase food for their children free from dependence on government welfare or private-sector charity. We have come to realize that our goal is not to make those we serve middle class (like us) but, rather, to move them toward greater self-sufficiency and to help them in their journey toward God. Many of the people we work with are trapped in cycles of sin and generational poverty. Successful ministry cannot completely depend on a 180-degree turn in the behavior of the people we serve. We canâ€™t fix people, but we can show love and patience as we gently guide them toward greater personal responsibility. We must leave room for Godâ€™s grace. THAT is so much more than charity. v
Prophet, Priests, and Predatory Lending Jim Coston “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
– Micah 6:8
hat kind of church do you serve?” A decade ago I might have interpreted that question to be about worship style or denominational affiliation. No more. That question now asks whether my church is conservative, liberal, progressive, fundamentalist, evangelical, socially oriented, Republican leaning, Democratically aligned, pro-life, pro-choice, pro-women, pro-family, and more. Once, these earthly divisions remained within the political spectrum. Now they have seeped into the church. We live in an era when ekklesia (ecclesia—church) carries qualifiers. Unfortunately, qualifiers mute both the prophetic word and the priestly action of the church.
Jim Coston serves as senior pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Waco, Texas. As a current pastor and former politician, he enjoys working through the overlap of prayer, polity, and policy. His most loved roles however are as a husband (to Julie) and father (to Justin, Chloe, and Samantha). 18
Prophet, Priests, and Predatory Lending Society thirsts for some strong voice to confront injustice and spur change. The church is that prophetic voice. That voice of grace and righteousness cries out in pulpits. The voice of mercy and justice flows out of the mouths of congregants. Prophetic speech declares in the Public Square and in private conversations. The church speaks of what could be, of transformation and transcendence, of God and Creation. Society hungers for a community that overcomes difference and unites. The church is that priestly witness to such community. In this priestly function, the church walks alongside those caught in broken systems, offering support, empathy, and companionship. The church ministers in ways that yield new life, hope, and redemption. This happens within the walls of the church as members encounter healing and God’s presence; it happens outside the walls of the church in the greater society as the church builds relationships. The church has a mandate to speak to and walk alongside others on the path toward transformation. Believers in Jesus Christ need to look for areas in which the church can escape the limits of qualifiers and work together as one in both prophetic and priestly roles for the good of all. The unjust practice of predatory lending (also known as payday or car-title lending) provides an opportunity for the church to serve in ways that exceed suspicions of the culture. Predatory lending (see “Cycle of Debt” sidebar, page 22) feeds upon its own customers. The inherent mechanisms of the industry, including 500% A.P.R., rollover fees, and late penalties, encourage client failure, thereby ensuring continued and greater dependence upon the predatory lenders. This is modern-day usury. This industry opens stores in low-income areas, preying upon those whose fragile economic situations make it impossible to cover emergency expenses. A sick child, a needed car repair, any number of common and un-extraordinary issues can lead a mother, a father, a family into the clutches of predatory lenders. Maria (a pseudonym) personalized the situation for Calvary Baptist in Waco, asking for help to escape the predatory lending trap. She had taken out a loan from a predatory lender to repair her car, her only transportation to work. The initial amount of the loan, excluding fees, came to $300, the cost of the car repair. Maria missed a few days of work while the car was repaired, which meant her next paycheck was not large enough to allow her to repay the loan. With the encouragement of predatory lending staff, Maria rolled the loan over for two weeks, incurring additional fees. Two weeks later, with a full paycheck, Maria still did not have enough to pay the loan principal and additional fees. The rollovers continued. As Maria got deeper into debt, she contacted Calvary Baptist. We were able to advocate for her to get the loan amount reduced and assist with its settlement. After only six months her initial loan still cost her $1000 above principal. Maria was the main victim in this story but the associated costs of predatory lending affect everyone (see “Predatory Lending Impact” sidebar, page 21). I want to live in a just society, for my own sake, that of my children, and my community. I have yet to meet anyone who, once learning of the inherent dynamics of predatory lending, views this industry as part of a just society. However, in
Communitas Texas, a powerful predatory lending lobby and their campaign contributions continue to promote and allow this usury (see “Legalized Usury” sidebar, page 23). The church has a powerful opportunity to speak prophetically about this injustice and to serve in a priestly role to all of those entangled within this industry, which includes clients and proprietors alike. The church’s prophetic function speaks truth to power under the mandate of God. This divine voice articulates a just society, confronting oppression and enslavement where it resides. This prophetic function also gathers others to organize and collaborate in order to bring needed change. The voice provides encouragement and a theological foundation to the work. The church also presents the ideal of a peaceable kingdom. That ideal may include policy recommendations. It may include calling legislators to account. It may consist of countering the chorus of lobbyists and their donations with the righteous imperatives of a holy God. The prophetic role seeks the redemption of our society. Within Texas, many faith-based organizations have added their sounds to this call. Through pickets, letters-to-the-editors, attendance at council meetings, and educating the public about this industry and its practices, new regulations have come to many municipalities including Dallas, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and Bryan. Congregations in these cities and their partners have drafted legislation that brings predatory lending practices in line with those of reputable lenders. At present, our state legislators remain resistant to removing the predatory from predatory lending. The prophetic need continues. The church’s priestly role may seem a bit more elusive. The priestly function primarily consists of being in relationship. This ministry involves the hard labor of listening and counseling, educating, and walking with others. It offers grace and mercy, truth and love. Congregations may provide reassurance in times of tension and stress over immediate financial hardship. It may include financial literacy workshops, advocacy, and ministering to the proprietors of this industry. It also means establishing micro-lending agencies, in effect offering alternatives to predatory lending to individuals in need of emergency funds. In Waco, local non-profits teamed with Texas Community Capital to form the Community Loan Center. The Community Loan Center enables employers to make loans to employees to be repaid through payroll deductions. Two of the city’s biggest employers, Waco Independent School District and the City of Waco, have together provided over 350 employees with loans totaling over $350,000 with minimal defaults. This endeavor has provided capital to employees without forcing them into an ever-spiraling cycle of poverty. Texas churches are engaged in this hands-on function already. Many congregations and social service organizations conduct financial literacy and educational workshops as well as individual counseling. Congregations are working with victims like Maria to break this cycle. Pastors are beginning to seek out predatory lenders in hopes of offering words of justice and mercy. More must be done. State and federal laws must change to make this ungodly
Prophet, Priests, and Predatory Lending usury illegal. More faith-based organizations must invest in micro-lending. And those who advocate for and profit from this industry must be confronted and ultimately, with repentance, forgiven. Predatory lending provides an opportunity and model for the church to fulfill its calling as a prophetic voice and priestly agent within contemporary culture. Society needs this truth and relationship. God demands this of the church as part of its confession. This particular issue provides an opportunity for believers to elevate the mantle of the divine transcendent ideal far above labels and partisan suspicion and perhaps to heal the rifts that divide believers within the faith community. As the church speaks truth to power prophetically, it may hear calls to unite and pursue God’s presence resounding within its own walls. As the church walks with those seeking redemption—physically, materially, spiritually—it may find itself the recipient of grace and mercy from On High. Society needs a prophet and priest. The church does as well. v
Predatory Lending Impact: A Glimpse of Waco • $10.5 million is drained from the Waco economy each year because of predatory lending fees. • There are 36 predatory lending storefronts that offer loans with annual percentage rates upward of 500% and loan terms that often pull borrowers into debt. • 62% of predatory lending consumers in Waco “‘roll over” their payday loan. • On average, 12 cars are repossessed each week in Waco due to predatory lending. • 3 out of 5 predatory loans are to borrowers who pay more in interest than the principal. • 602 cars were repossessed last year by auto title lenders in Waco. (Texas Fair Lending Alliance, 2013)
What is the Cycle of Debt? Julia, who works in an elementary school cafeteria, got a $500 fast cash payday advance because she was short on money for rent. She left the store with $500 in her pocket and a loan for $615 (the first $115 fee is rolled into the loan principal amount). At the end of two weeks, she didn’t have the full $615 she owed, so she paid a $115 fee to rollover the loan for two more weeks. Because money is tight, many working Texans, just like Julia, roll over their loans five or more times, and end up paying $1200 or more for what started as a short-term $500 loan.
The Cycle of Debt
(fees based on Julia’s $500 two-week loan) Every 2 weeks
Pay $115 Fee
Still owes entire loan principal
Every 2 weeks
Pay $115 Fee
Prophet, Priests, and Predatory Lending
The CSO / CAB Business Model CAB
• Pays $ to CSO
• Charges fees to arrange, collect, and guarantee loan • No cap on fees
• No contact with borrowers • Must abide by payday regulations
• Never interacts with lender
Legalized Usury As recently as the 1990s, current payday and auto title business practices were illegal in Texas. In 2001, the Texas Legislature adopted standards for payday lending. Since the 2001 legislative action, payday and auto title businesses have found ways to get around state interest and fee limitations. The result has been an explosion of locations of these high-cost loan businesses. In 2004, there were 1300 storefronts in Texas. Today, there are over 3,400 storefronts statewide—more locations than McDonalds and Whataburger combined. In short, payday and auto title businesses avoid Texas’ usury law by exploiting a legal loophole that allows them to get around the Texas Constitution’s 10% usury cap. Payday and auto title storefronts register as Credit Access Businesses (CAB) under the Credit Services Organizations Act and collect high fees—upwards of 23% of the loan principal amount in interest and fees every two-weeks to onemonth—while a third party lender receives interest at or below 10%.
Cultivating Resilience Andrew Fiser
“… They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.”
– Psalm 1 (NSRV)
n Spring 2015, my Pastoral Leaders in Public Life (PLPL) learning cohort gathered for its final retreat at Mo-Ranch Retreat Center in the Hill Country near Hunt, Texas. I was drawn to the PLPL program because it gave space for pastors to think critically in community about their role in public life. I was transitioning
Andrew Fiser works as ministry coach/consultant and Christian community developer with churches hosting the after-school programs and summer urban day camps of Project Transformation – North Texas. Previously, he worked with the Rio Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church as a church planting strategist and as co-pastor of Edgehill United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He is an ordained elder in the Tennessee Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Cultivating Resilience into my new role of coaching churches to use on-site after-school and urban summer camps to connect with culturally diverse families in Dallas. As a young adult with experience as a Christian community developer, an LGBTQ-affirming church pastor, and an oilfield church planting strategist, I had been immersed in a broad spectrum of ministries. In each setting I confronted the challenges of leading the church through major cultural transitions and also into mutual relationships with impoverished communities. Gathering with a community of pastors with similar questions gave me a place to process the leadership contexts in which I have found myself. Itâ€™s a tough time to be a public leader in the mainline Protestant churches. One of my main concerns is how to raise up a new generation of publicly engaged church leaders who can develop outwardly focused communities of faith. I am passionate about this work, and I feel it is increasingly unsustainable. I look out into communities and churches I serve in Texas and see the intractable nature of the problems we face. Locally, we struggle to close the achievement gap between lower-income students and their affluent counterparts. Global climate change is no longer a future realityâ€”it is already ruining ecosystems and lives around the planet. Countries like Syria, Iraq, Eastern Ukraine, Myanmar, Nigeria, and their allies are mired in ethnic and religious warfare. Racial bias and mistrust warehouse black and brown bodies in prisons of injustice. And while politics are often ugly, the equivocation and vitriol of contemporary American leaders is disturbing. The inter-relatedness of issues facing us locally and across the globe makes progress a distant reality. During the first day of our retreat at Mo-Ranch, several members of the PLPL group shared powerful stories of what they had learned in our year together. I had no idea what I would say to the group. I felt overwhelmed by the enormity of the big-picture issues facing the church and my leadership. I took advantage of a break in our agenda to take a run down a back road through the hills. While running usually helps me center myself, I continued to feel unsettled. I passed through a cattle guard and found myself on a little-used gravel road. It grew more and more overgrown with each stride. When the road opened up onto a meadow overlooking a valley, I experienced a weighty feeling that meant I needed to stop running and pay attention to the world around me. Begrudgingly, I turned my attention outward and began to notice the craggy beauty of the Hill Country around me. I watched the clouds moving quickly across the horizon. A hawk cried out overhead. I smelled the earthiness of the land. A breeze cooled my skin. I bent down and picked-up limestone pebbles from the road overgrown with prickly thistles and waving grasses. In my hands I held sea floor of an ancient ocean. In my hands were tiny witnesses to millions of years of change. Even the end of continents or species is a beginning of something blessed. When I am stressed, I find that my vision narrows and I cannot see the world around me. I am so shaped by my smartphone and computer screen presentations of the issues that I lose connection with the real world. When I look around at the state of
Communitas the church, I see disrepair, mismanagement, and conflict avoidance. Inward focus and denominational narrowness hinder church growth and revitalization. Church planting efforts are often stifled by petty jealousies and risk-averse cultures. Efforts to strengthen missional vitality and strategies for impacting communities are sidetracked by bureaucratic fights and the avoidance of either compromise or commitment regarding hot-button social issues. These issues seem to plague mainline Protestant churches as splits widen along cultural and theological differences. At times Iâ€™m not certain mainline Protestantism will survive beyond cultural artifacts and social service agencies. How are we supposed to be engaged leaders in public life when church as we have known it is collapsing behind us? I have searched for a response to this question for some time. Many pastors and church leaders are overwhelmed with the enormity of the situation before them. Young leaders who are asked to innovate and form new disciples while paying their dues to ineffective denominational cultures find it particularly difficult. Many of us stay in the church long after we have become ineffective. And many leave the church because change seems impossible. Neither the church nor the world always feels holy and blessed. That day in the country, as I held those ancient pebbles in my hand and gazed upon an ecosystem that exists because of eons of change, I began to gain a new sense of perspective. There is wisdom all around us. God created the world and all that is in it. And God called it good. All of it. The limestone topography formed millions of years ago but now worn by time and seismic shifts is made beautiful by change. Deep rivers of water flow through the rock, providing life to ecosystems above and below the surface. The scrappy live oaks tolerate human interruption of natural fire cycles and bison grazing. Their roots reach down to deep water. And where they do not find it, they die and hope their seeds are planted near plentiful water. I realized that day that God was revealing something important to me. The life of faith, which is always public and private, is about cultivating resilience. I thought about how even when the scraggly cedars take over and choke out the oaks and other plant life, that is not the end. When the cedars are trimmedback, the wildflowers and grasses emerge as if from a century of slumber to fill the margins and meadows. Some plants know themselves well enough to commit to a specific land that makes them thrive. Just a few acres may be the only place in the world where an organism may truly be at home. I considered how draught and weather cycles are natural processes that shift and change the ecology of the land. Change is not the end. Change prompts the beginning of a new creation. Resilience is a wisdom that comes to us from millennia of adaption and change. It is a gift we live into through daily practices that keep us close to the one who sustains us. I have a small covenant group of divinity school friends from around the country who lovingly hold me accountable to practices like daily prayer and scripture reading. I run, eat a (mostly) vegetarian diet, and do Crossfit to keep my body healthy. More and more, I realize that resilience for the work of leading the church into this new day comes through simple practices that make us more open
Cultivating Resilience to how Christ would lead us. The practices that may be most important for leaders right now are those that help us actually to live in the material world around us. What matters most right now may simply be taking the time to watch and wait and experience the wise, physical world outside of ourselves. It may just remind us that God is always already creating something new. Faith is at the heart of resilience. It is a trust that sustains us as it did Jesus Christ. It comes as a gift somewhere between Gethsemane, Golgotha, and an empty tomb. Faith is resilient enough to withstand the cross, betrayal, and the failure of the Jesus movement. That is the impossibly good news of the Resurrection. I am drawn to words penned by Dietrich Bonhoeffer from a Nazi prison shortly before his execution: “It is only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith. By this-worldliness I mean living unreservedly in life’s duties, problems, successes, and failures. In so doing we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God, taking seriously, not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world. That, I think, is faith; that is metanoia …” v NOTE 1. Metanoia may be translated as a reversal of one’s path, conversion, turning around, or repentance. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison: The Enlarged Edition (London, SCM:1971), 369.
Education Beyond the Walls Education Beyond the Walls is the outward-looking educational face of Austin Seminary, providing lifelong learning and fresh, innovative, and expansive theological education for clergy, church leaders, congregations, and communities. Established in 2011, Education Beyond the Walls (EBW) sits at the intersection of church and academy, and draws upon the deep resources of both to craft creative responses to emerging needs of church leaders. Austin Seminary serves the church in the traditional way by providing people with a call to ministry with a classical education. But we also recognize the need for a more expansive vision to meet people called to many forms of ministry where they are, in their own journeys. We invite them into communities of learning that will support their flourishing, as leaders of the church and as disciples of Jesus Christ. Many learners are formed explicitly and excellently through our degree programs (master’s and doctoral levels) and the Certificate in Ministry. Other learners gather in settings beyond the degree-granting specifications of seminary curricula.
For information about current EBW opportunities visit AustinSeminary.edu/EBW or call 512-404-4857. 27
Acknowledgements These writers worked together for almost a year to create this issue of Communitas. They gathered on the Austin Seminary campus for three writing retreats to “hear each other into speech,” as ethicist Nell Morton says. Donna Johnson, master teacher, memoirist, and author of Holy Ghost Girl, joined them. Johnson coached them to bring themselves into the writing of these pieces, to find and write in their own voices. Unexpectedly, the experience affected her own spiritual journey quite personally. “To say I was inspired [by them] is an understatement,” Johnson writes. Mutual gratitude and growth abound for the Volume 13 Communitas community. Thanks be to the grace of God. The Writing Team: (back) Jim Coston, Leslie King, Paul Bailie, Andrew Fiser; (front) Amos Humphries, Donna Johnson, Jorge Zayasbazan
Theodore J. Wardlaw
Board of Trustees
G. Archer Frierson II, Chair James C. Allison Whitney Bodman Janice Bryant (MDiv’01, DMin’11) Claudia D. Carroll Elizabeth Christian Joseph J. Clifford Katherine B. Cummings (MDiv’05) Thomas Christian Currie Consuelo Donahue (MDiv’96) Jackson Farrow Jr. Beth Blanton Flowers, MD Jesús Juan González (MDiv’92) John Hartman Ann E. Herlin (MDiv’01) Rhashell D. Hunter Steve LeBlanc
Trustees Emeriti Stephen A. Matthews Max Sherman Louis Zbinden
Sue B. McCoy Matthew Miller (MDiv’03) Lyndon L. Olson Jr. B. W. Payne David Peeples Jeffrey Kyle Richard Conrad M. Rocha Lana Russell Lita Simpson Anne Vickery Stevenson Martha Crawley Tracey Karl Brian Travis Carlton D. Wilde Jr. Elizabeth Currie Williams Michael G. Wright
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Communitas, the Journal of Education Beyond the Walls at Austin Seminary The 2016 issue was written by Fellows of the 2014 Pastoral Leaders...
Published on Jul 6, 2016
Communitas, the Journal of Education Beyond the Walls at Austin Seminary The 2016 issue was written by Fellows of the 2014 Pastoral Leaders...