We have a lot of folks asking who we are, who the Disciples are, what we are up to, what makes us different and a host of other things (all great questions!). So I thought I would take a minute to think deeply about what the answers to some of those questions might be.
I have been really intentional to date in this blog to rarely use "we" and "us" when I speak about this community... because "we" does not include you, or anyone else that may take the plunge and check out the community. And, it makes it seem like this is some kind of club with an "in" and "out" crowd. That doesn't fly in this community. So please forgive the prolific use of "we" in this blog (tbh, I couldn't figure out another way to do it!)
Sugarbush Christian Church isn’t like any other church community I have ever known.
There are more teenagers and young adults than there are anybody else - outnumbering the 40+ crowd at about 3-1. So that’s weird (and wonderful!). We don’t always do things the way that we are “supposed” to… we used to meet in a cafeteria to worship, we play and talk to one another during activities that teach about the stuff of faith, sometimes we meet at the pub, we ask lots of questions and take our time exploring answers and more questions. We are a growing intentional community that is just trying to live the lessons of love.
That means that we take people as they are. That means we spend a lot of time building relationships outside of worship. That means that we are open to changing and adapting as the community grows, as new people climb on board, and as the Spirit moves.
If I were to think of five things people need to know about this community if they want to check it out, I would have to choose these:
It takes a huge leap of faith and a lot of courage to check out a new faith community. We know that. We all did it. We weren’t sure at first either. We were strangers once too (some of us are still working on that!). Usually, we went for coffee with the pastor or someone we knew who had just taken the plunge to ask questions and get a feel for what to expect. It was a gamble. It was a risk. But be ready for people who are genuinely interested in who you are and the faith journey you are on. Be ready for relationships to develop and for unexpected support (and opportunities to reciprocate!). (PS – if this scares you, please note that most of the congregation are introverts on the Myers-Briggs indicator! So u might just fit in!)
It's about love. Those who have come to check out this crazy new thing came because our vision talks about living love with our whole lives. There is space in this community to explore what this means, to ask questions, to have deep conversations, to practice, to fall down and get back up and try again. There is support and love for the opportunities you want to explore in your own journey, every day of the week.
We are open and affirming. Period. There are people of all kinds of sexual orientations, marital status and gender identities here. We honour and love them all the same. If you don’t believe me, there are folks from the LGBTQQ community here who will gladly share their experience with you.
It's about more than what we do on Saturdays. Worship is what we do on Saturdays. It's time to pray and learn together as a community. But that does not define who we are. We are a community that interacts with each other through social media, in events that serve the community, city, province, country, world (and groups within it), and in small groups that study, practice and socialize together, and one-on-one. So if Saturday worship isn’t a fit for you, there are other ways to tap into the community…and new opportunities can be developed!
We’re still learning and growing. Sugarbush is a work in progress, not a well-oiled machine. We have good stability and strong supports in place, but we are still forging a path for ourselves. That means we don’t have all the answers, structures, and pipelines in place that a more established, traditional church may have. But we are working on it. We also don’t have a complete idea of who God is calling us to be, other than a community of love and support that actively engages the world around us. Each time someone new takes part, our dreams and potentials for service and community expand. We have a vision and a mission…and goals towards which we are working. But we are not complete…there are still others out there with whom we have not yet made connections, but I am sure God is dreaming of bringing together.
So should you wish to check us out… keep in mind these few things. There is room for all sorts of people in this community which makes it beautiful, challenging and exciting. Here people are not cogs to be fit together in some great machine, but rather precious pieces of painted clay which, when a new one is discovered or uncovered, brings new colour, new potential to the bigger picture. Hope to see you soon!