Friday, July 29, 2011

Update on The Gathering

The Gathering: an update on activities, outreach, finances and life.

Hi Friends!

As is the case for many of us in these wild times, The Gathering is going through wild times. Changes, challenges and gloriously wonderful experiences.

The Gathering has never been, since our inception, church as usual. Our friends are unique, our way of doing things is open and invites questions and responses, our outreach is innovative in this unique and world-famous small city, and our location is even weird and wild. We have had a great group of people involved in our lives over these first 12 years of our existence, and are thankful for every one of them. We would not be here without you. Each, and every one of you who have made this home - even for a season.

Here is the latest in brief:

• new faces are appearing almost every day at The Gathering
• an outreach to Burning Man is coming up in less than a month
• we have a new member - born today
• finances are as tight as they have ever been

Okay, that's the short of it. Here's the longer version:

New Faces from The Vault Alarm! Open Mic Night each Thursday

Thank you Chris Reiss, Dan Kupka, Will Spreadbury, and David Gerard. These four guys have been instrumental in starting an Open Mic night at The Vault. It was the brainchild of Chris Reiss, and Dan Kupka added his skills and influence and the first night 50 people showed up. It is quite fun to see the community arrive at The Vault and experience some fun, music and friendships. It's not a church service. It's not  a evangelistic outreach. It's just a community event, and our friends are enjoying it. After three weeks some of them like it enough to check us out on Sundays or at the Lectio Divina early Thursday PM service, and of course everyone is welcome to everything we do - but never pressured!

Burning Man Outreach

Matt the Pirate and Pastor Phil are headed to Burning Man deep in the Nevada desert. They are part of an art installation team which was Pastor Phil's crazy idea. They (along with other team members from around the U.S.) raised $5,000 on, and will be erecting pillars in the desert which will be used to allow people to meditate and listen for "the voice of the Spirit." Please keep this project in prayer. They are hoping to film it and turn it into a short film documenting the voices people hear today.

New Member - Aria Marie Bennett

She was born to Ian and Brittany Bennett at 2:48 this afternoon. Yeah!


Many people have been asking how we are doing, and if we are still surviving. The answer is we are still here, and believing that we shall be able to increase to a place of stable financial support. So far, so good, but like many people in our country today the belt is tighter than usual.

Our space has allowed us to do things most churches only dream about in regards to reaching a community. In fact, many churches have joined us over the years to help us serve the city of Salem and it's 500,000 visitors. We have been able to hold this spot in a strategically beneficial location on behalf of many others over the years. Yet, it has not been without great cost, and just as it has been at some other points in the past our finances are crucially tight.

Our location and our unique and creative ministry have become a model for thousands of people over the years, and we are dependent on the prayerfulness and support of others often, because our church is so small; but our dream, our mission, and our work has been so large.

If you have been blessed by The Gathering over the years - please keep us in your prayers, and if you are able, we are most indebted and thankful for your financial support.

Blessings in most abundance upon you, and the God of Grace give you rest for your soul,
Pastor Phil

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friends create great open mic start!

Yesterday I posted about the friends of The Gathering creating a weekly open mic night each Thursday at 8:30. Well, musicians were playing 3 song sets from around 8:30 to 12:30 last night, and throughout the evening about 50 people attended.

Chris, Dr. DK, Big MC LargeHuge did a great job of pulling this together. Thanks guys. You are awesome.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

We Have Friends! Rock On!

Friend can seem like such a distant and benign term in the world of Facebook and distant, sometimes only "virtual." Lately, "friend" has been meaning something else to me, and some of us at The Gathering. Our little church, has a rather large mission in the city of Salem, and we are parked smack in the middle of downtown able to interact with visitors and locals with regularity. October (of course) with it's 500,000 visitors makes us one of the most active little churches in the world.

That is all to set the stage for the story of our friends.

Lately, money is tight. Okay, that's an understatement. It is always tight, but lately it is brutally tight - like many of us are experiencing. So much so, that there is concern about the ability to maintain our mission in our current location at The Vault.

Enter stage left our friends. People who are either very new to this little church called The Gathering, or friends in the community who simply like us are concerned, and want to help us out so that we can survive here and do well.

Tonight, some of those friends - those people simply "liked" are proving that friendship and liking are more than a distant facebook phenomenon. They are beginning a weekly Open Mic at the Vault to raise a few bucks to help us out. So to, Dr. DK, Big MC LargeHuge, David Gerard and the initiating force of all this - Chris! Thanks. You guys are awesome.

See you tonight guys, and to everyone else - hope to see you there too.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Pub Theology solves world's problems every month

Well, maybe not, but we sure have fun sitting around the table and discussing theology and life. June we discussed the question of "Why?". Our question for the evening was "Why Why?" That is, why do we ask the question "Why?" and why has this question plagued humanity throughout history.

This month we forgot to order fried pickles. That is critical, because we've decided that ordering fried pickles is the solution for world peace.

Here's the gang sitting around solving the problem:

The discussion led to the consideration of the difference between good and bad questioning. We discussed when the question leads us to a place of stagnation, and when it leads us to personal growth.

This month, on July 26th, we will consider the most important event or movement of the 20th century. What is the premier defining event of the 20th century and why? Join us for this consideration on July 26th at The Old Spot.