This past Sunday, as part of our "Semper Reformda: Always Reforming" series, I shared with you all, virtually verbatim, a dream for our church that I share back in 2016. I have shared and preached this dream/vision virtually every year since then. I do that because I believe it captures something true about how our heart beats as a church.
As we struggle and wrestle and seek the winds of the Spirit for our next season as a church, I don't think we need a new vision or dream --- we have that, it is part of our DNA, it is core to we are as a church.
What we need is to discern what form our ministry and community will take in the coming year and years in order to together move the reality of RFC closer to our dream for RFC.
We will be spending most of our Summer Sundays focused on this question. No matter where you are on your spiritual journey, and no matter what your current relationship and involvement with RFC is, I invite you to be part of the faithful community trying to enflesh our dream.
OUR DREAM FOR THE CHURCH:
“‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
You know that is still happening today. What was true then is true now. The Holy Spirit hasn’t stopped working, hasn’t stopped moving, hasn’t stopped inspiring. And young men and women will see visions and old men and women will dream dreams.
And we are still dreaming dreams and seeing visions here at RFC. We are.
Did you know that we -- Jen, Liza and I -- get together for 2-3 hours every Tuesday morning and we dream dreams. We gather with the Board and see visions. We sit with Pastor Nancy and pass emails back and forth full of dreams and visions for this church in our day.
But we aren’t dreaming big dreams any more. No, we are dreaming small dreams for us and our church and our community.
We dream of a church that gathers -- devoted to the apostles' teachings, to the breaking of bread, to doing life together, and deep abiding and listening to prayer.
We dream of a church where people share with each other and help each other in practical ways -- as needs arise. A church where people are filled with awe and praise whenever they gather.
We’re dreaming not of a church with massive Sunday services, but small huddles scattered throughout the community. We’re dreaming of a church that is not about revolution, but revelation, where miracles are normal and small changes and breakthroughs are celebrated.
We dream of a church that is as diverse as the Kingdom of God. All ages and colors and genders and orientations. We dream of a church where kids encounter Jesus every day and parents are growing in their love of God and singles are finding real community and [those who have experienced great loss] are embraced and cared for. Where [children who need forever parents] discover their families and where our broader family embraces every one of the lost, least, lonely and forgotten in our community.
We dream of a church that creates safe places for people to seek after God -- black and white, old and young, men and women, gay and straight, cis-gendered and trans-gendered, the able and differently abled -- one family, one church, one God we worship.
We dream of a church that will be known for our love and our grace and our pursuit of truth -- for our generosity to our neighbors and those less fortunate and less resourced.
We dream of a church -- that doesn't fill stadiums but ignites a viral movement of the Holy Spirit in our day. A movement of hope and healing and restoration and reconciliation.
We dream these dreams because we believe that what was true then can be true now. Because we believe an Acts 2 church can happen in Hartford CT in our day just as it happened in Jerusalem in 33 AD. We dream because we have tasted and we believe and we long for all that God has promised for us.
We dream because we believe… that because of Pentecost… because of what the Holy Spirit is doing in our day.. That we can go forth into the world full of faith in a God who loves us all, following Jesus our Lord, striving towards good, loving one another, rejoicing in God’s Presence, and using our gifts to make earth more like heaven.
We hope and pray that you will dream this dream with us...
As we enter into a fresh Fall season of ministry, we are looking for some key people to step into leadership roles and for everyone who calls Riverfront home to "improve their serve" and volunteer somewhere significant.
In terms of leadership roles, we are beginning to structure our church around six Action Teams: Worship, Family/Fellowship, Spiritual Growth, Community Engagement, Justice, and Children/Youth.
This structure emerged out of the important vision/mission work we did this past Spring. Each of the teams will "steward" that area of ministry -- developing a vision, ideas, plans, and programs. We hope that every member and regular attender at RFC will serve on at lest one Action Team in some role.
Additionally, we are looking for leaders (or co-leaders) for each of these teams. These leaders will help coordinate the individual teams as well as meet monthly with the pastoral staff as an Action Coordination Team (ACTs) to make sure we are coordinating our efforts, stewarding resources well, and thinking about our vision/mission from a 30,000 foot level.
The Board will focus on areas of spiritual leadership, stewardship, policy, and accountability. Each Action Team will have a Board liaison serving on the team (but not necessarily leading the team. One of the pastors will also be a part of each of the teams.
So far, we have leaders in place for two of the teams:
JUSTICE ACTION TEAM - Miela Gruber & Chris Graesser
WORSHIP ACTION TEAM - Michael Minch & Diana Scott
We are still looking for people to take on leadership roles for the following Action Teams:
Family/Fellowship Action Team
Spiritual Growth Action Team
Children & Youth Action Team
Community Engagement Action Team
If you are interested in serving in one of these roles, or have any questions about them or want to discuss more, please email Pastor Ben and Pastor Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in volunteering and serving in a particular role, you can also check out our VOLUNTEER INFO PAGE.
This statement was officially adopted by the RFC members on 8/21/22:
Riverfront Family Church is fully committed to the liberation of each person from the bonds of oppression and injustice, acknowledging that we all need to be liberated. This is our sacred work.
We believe in a God who loves us all, without exception, and that God’s love is both just and merciful.
We believe that it is our responsibility to work to heal the wounds caused when the Christian church has been used as a weapon of intersectional harm and exploitation. This is our spiritual responsibility.
We actively seek to expose and dismantle our complicity with beliefs and systems--including white supremacy--that perpetuate injustice and oppression.
We reject the violence and spiritual falsehood of relationships based on coercion or hierarchy. We embrace “power-with” relationships, elevate the value of communal responsibility over the value of individualism, and seek the ongoing creation of cooperative egalitarian community. This is the lived expression of our beliefs.
We value deep listening, humility, joy, relational power, transformation, restoration, and equity.
We commit to following pro-Black BIack, Indigeness, and People of Color (BIPOC) civil rights leaders & community leaders of all ethnicities, genders, sexualities, abilities, faith traditions, and generations--past, present, and future--in solidarity and with deep respect. We commit to supporting justice work as it takes shape in our congregation and beyond.
We believe justice and liberation of all of us is necessary for real love, joyful relationship, and the wholeness that the Creator intended for all of creation.