Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Jesus without strings: a look back at 2011

Having a church in Salem, Massachusetts is considered by some to be adventurous enough by itself. Having that church downtown along the historic walk which all the visitors follow, and in the midst of the plethora of witchcraft shops, haunted houses and Halloween knick knack shops, is even more adventurous. Making friends with the Witches, the musicians, the artists, and the homeless in Salem is downright dangerous - or some believe it is. But, Jesus lived dangerously, and we expect that following His example might occasionally have the same adventurous results.

This year there have been some new and adventurous things happening at the church.

There is a a Open Mic every Thursday evening, and a group of local musicians have made the event a regular experience, and it has become a place some have found a home away from home.

Our creative style of outreach reached out as far as northern Nevada this year. With a team from around the US, we led an art installation at the Burning Man Festival. Like Salem, Burning Man is a strange and crazy place. A video of our project, with interviews from the people who came to experience it can be found on Youtube.

Like each of the last 13 years, October was a wonderful time of outreach and stories of redemption. People came from far and wide to minister with us once again - from Texas, California, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the UK were just some of the places represented. The Vineyard, the Association of Bridge Churches, the Assemblies of God, Youth with a Mission, and people from Baptist and Episcopal churches were just a few of the groups represented. Our desire to become a place for people of all Christian traditions to minister in a unique post-modern, post-Christian environment is becoming more and more of a reality each year.

We believe in Jesus without strings.

The Gathering has also experienced a little growth. New faces, new people, and a sense of excitement with it.

Melissa and Jodi are re-starting the Women's Bible Study on Tuesday evenings. Ian has been recording the services and posting them on our Facebook page. The worship team is an amazing group of musicians, and help make the Sunday services both comfortable and fun. (The song link is Pastor Phil leading worship and Ian says this song sounded like an Irish Pub Song, because we were laughing at the fact that Jonathan stumbled on his way to the piano.)

Thousands have been touched in a variety of ways this last year through our outreach projects here in Salem, and now as far away as Nevada.

Many of you have been part of the support of our unique missional community over the years, and our thanks and appreciation go out to you. May the Lord bless you abundantly this Christmas Season, and in the New Year.

If you would like to help our small church with an enormous mission continue reaching the world with the message of God's abounding love in this coming year you can give securely online on our website.

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