What would a vibrant mainline church of the future look like? That’s the question we posed to a number of pastors, thought-leaders and bloggers as part of our Future of Mainline Protestantism series here at Patheos. We’ll be posting their responses throughout the coming days here at Faith Forward, so come back often and join the conversation!
Today, Theology Professor and United Church of Christ Pastor Bruce Epperly responds:
Mainline Christianity is now at the margins of North American cultural and religious life; but the margins can become frontiers for a new vital faith. We need to be wildly creative and adventurous in exploring uncharted spiritual frontiers. The future will be a challenge and risk but our hope is in the integration of transformative spiritual practices, creative theological reflection, life-giving rituals of healing and wholeness, world-affirming mysticism, and committed ethical action for this earth and its peoples. We need to believe more, not less, for our calling is to claim our role as God’s partners in healing the world.
Bruce Epperly is Professor of Practical Theology at Lancaster Theological Seminary and co-pastor of Disciples United Community Church in Lancaster, PA.