From Matt...

Day 3 of our immersion experience was so good in so many ways it is hard to put it into words, but I do want to at least tell you all about it.

We started the morning with prayer, communion and then breakfast. After breakfast we continued our brainstorming and connecting with ABCD which led to a series of action items for everyone to follow-up with. We made phone calls and walked to a few neighbors’ houses to see if they would be interested in assisting with various small jobs or connecting with different neighbors (to help with a project) or groups (like the nearby quilting club). It was exhilarating to take action and the response from our neighbors was all positive. (You can see a few pictures from Wed. on the previous blog.)

At 10:30 we met with Vicki Bond of the Raise My Head Foundation. Vicki is a long-time friend who has done an incredible job putting together this non-profit which plans to offer a two-year residential program for women who want to leave sex trafficking, homelessness, and/or drug addiction. Vicki is joyful and passionate about her work, which is contagious! We were able to tour the house they recently purchased and learn about their plans. Please take a moment to visit their site here:

After being inspired by Vicki we returned to the house for lunch and naps or recreation. In the afternoon, we returned to Bethany UMC for another powerful time of teaching from Elaine Heath. This time was especially inspiring as Elaine shared with us various individuals and groups that she has connected with that are doing amazing, out-of-the-box ministry around the U.S. And yes, some of this type of ministry does not fit into the measuring metrics of those who want to keep the institutional church the way it has been for so long, but at the same time, these changes are anchored in the teachings and practices of Jesus and the Apostle Paul.

By 5:30 we were all starting to get tired, but we couldn’t slow down because at 6:00 we were hosting a street party at the house. It was definitely stressful at moments, but between the focused energy of our immersion students and the conversation and laughter of arriving neighbors, the stress soon melted away. After eating lots of wonderful food, we sang a few folk songs, which eventually involved a few of the kids leading the singing and even dancing!

Many hands made light work of setting up for our block party. I think Prescott was inspecting the quality of Elaine's work. 

Many hands made light work of setting up for our block party. I think Prescott was inspecting the quality of Elaine's work. 

Sami, one of our immersion students, teaches a dance step to one of the neighborhood kids during the party. Who would have ever guessed there would be dancing happening in our front yard? 

Sami, one of our immersion students, teaches a dance step to one of the neighborhood kids during the party. Who would have ever guessed there would be dancing happening in our front yard? 

We ended the day by reflecting on the moments when we felt closest to and furthest away from God. I think it is safe to say the blessings of the day heavily outweighed the low points. Or as I like to say, the day was “OFF THE CHARTS AMAZING!”

More and More and More Immersion Fun

The Good and Beautiful World immersion is continuing with great success and joy.  Here is the pictures to prove it.

On our first field trip we went to the Envision.  Envision is an incredible organization that has created thriving businesses while improving the quality of life for people who are blind and visually impaired.  They are a major manufacturer of plastic bags and other products and many of their employees are blind or close to it.  Inspiring place!


During Elaine's lessons we processed watching the movie The Mission with Robert De Niro.  From the movie we explored the themes of colonialism and it's impact on our American experience of Church.  Elaine helped us rediscover the co-equal, co-humble, co-communal nature of God.  And of course to truly explore our triune God you must do a circle dance.  The joy of dancing reminded us of the Holy Spirit's ability to fill us with Pentecost power.  It also proved that Matt and Adam should not dance.


After making contact with neighbors earlier in the week we explored possible connection points and then made calls to help people find each other.  From our calls we were able to stimulate small paying gigs for neighbors out of work, social connections for people who are isolated, and potential groupings that could give birth to new businesses, apprenticeships, or more.

We use a giant map and lots of post-it notes to catalog all the assets and interest we discover.  Then we allow our imagination to run wild with the possibilities.  Crucial to ABCD and non-colonial evangelism is that we do not impose our own agenda.  Instead we make connections, experiment, fail, and allow people to choose for themselves what comes next. 

Still to come....

visit to Raise My Head Foundation House.

more mind blowing Elaine Heath time.

Fork-n-Folk neighborhood potluck with music and dancing.

closing worship and anointing.  

And our very first immersion promo video featuring our amazing first students.

Immersion Pilot First Night Reflections

From Adam....

Tonight we started our first immersion!  I think the excitement and anticipation between the 5 of us could power an ICT bus.  Of course Prescott has that much energy every day of the week.  Although I know I should be sleeping I couldn't do it.  Not tonight.  I am far too filled with visions of the church breaking loose from it's chains and running wildly on the streets.  On the streets of SoCe of course, but also on the streets which our immersion students will occupy throughout their long journeys.  

I also am overjoyed that Elaine Heath has joined us this week to both co-facilitate the immersion and companion our team as we discern and experiment with the baby that is our immersion program.  Elaine is a professor at Perkins School of Theology and author of many wonderful books.  (Start with Longing for Spring if you want a good read.)  On top of all this Elaine is the perfect midwife for our project.  She is protective, gentle, incredibly encouraging, and in the right moments speaks with power and authority that has caused us to push a new way of life into being for ourselves, our neighborhood, and hopefully our immersion students.  We cannot begin to thank her enough.  

Stay tuned for lots of pictures and stories from our first week hosting students!