One of the things that’s frustrating for presbytery leaders (RP, EP, GP, etc.) like me is that we don’t usually have a church community to call “home.” As you know (check out Where’s Wendy) I am visiting different congregations each week in the presbyteries of Monmouth and New Brunswick. I love visiting congregations. I hear a variety of preachers, experience different styles of worship, sit in a number of architecturally diverse sanctuaries , read bulletins offering a smorgasbord of programs. I always find something I love in the worship, and each one offers me something new in my own faith journey. But I miss having a church “home.” I long for a community of people who are on the spiritual journey with me, where we can not only worship, but study together, pray together, do mission together.
My husband, Dwayne, decided in early 2012, soon after we moved to NJ, to join Allentown Presbyterian Church. He not only attends worship, but participates in leadership by offering his musical, dramatic, and liturgical gifts. Since then, I have worshipped with him at APC every couple of months or so, and it’s beginning to feel more and more like “home.” Starting this week, however, Dwayne and I are taking our church “home” virtual.
The whole church (all ages) has committed to read the Bible together this year using the redacted NIV version, The Story: The Bible as One Continuing Story of God and His People. It includes most of the narratives of the old and new testaments in chronological order and arranged in 31 chapters … so it reads like a novel. It promises to be a great way to introduce Bible reading to those who haven’t done it in the past, and it’s a great way to see the relationships between stories as well as capture the over-arching “upper-story” of scripture as Randy Frazee explains in the accompanying materials (isn’t this also an appropriate use of my seminary vocabulary, Heilsgeschichte?)
The church will be using the book for curriculum in adult, youth and children Sunday School, have a class on Monday nights, and an on-line discussion through a blog, Facebook and Twitter (#apcthestory). Dwayne and I will be taking the lead in our virtual community along with other leaders from APC. We already have people reading with us from Ohio and Texas! And week one begins this weekend.
If you’d like to read with us and join our Bible Reading community … we’d love to have you. If you want to lurk and just watch this experiment in virtual Bible reading and spiritual development, you can do that too.