The Ekklesia Project

  March 2011 Lent



In This Issue: 


New on bLOGOs


Why Endorse?



Meet the EP



New Website Coming Soon



Gathering 2011 Update 





This miniature is a simple expression of the pathway chosen and a reminder that the journey begins and ends at the cross


Gwen Meharg, Path (used by permission)

New on bLOGOS


Being Born From Above

by Janice Love

Through rain, desert, wind and snow
Abraham and Sarah had to go
even though they nothing know.
- Oskar Sundmark, 11 years

Even though they nothing know.  This is what it means to trust in the God we see revealed in Jesus, what it means to be Christian - to drop our nets, pick up our cross and follow Christ.  Or as Soren Kierkegaard puts it:  "To be joyful out on 70,000 fathoms of water, many, many miles from all human help - yes, that is something great!  To swim in the shallows in the company of waders is not the religious."  READ MORE

Why I Am An EP Endorser

Phil Kenneson


Being asked to endorse the Ekklesia Project might seem like an odd request. After all, "endorsing" in our day is associated with pitching products (or signing the backs of checks for those who still traffic in those odd pieces of paper). Since none of us brings any star power to the table, what could it mean for ordinary folks to "endorse" the Ekklesia Project?  

One place to start is to remember that "endorsing" is a public act. It involves publicly aligning oneself with something else--in this case the people, practices, and convictions that are the heart of the Ekklesia Project. To endorse is to declare openly that you are convinced that the church has been called to be a living, breathing, embodied witness to Christ's present-but-still-coming kingdom in our place and time. To endorse is to commit yourself anew to your local congregation or parish and to affirm the church's call to bring healing and restoration to a broken world. To endorse is to align yourself with others across the ecclesial spectrum who are likewise committed to being used by the Spirit to bring renewal and vitality to the church. In a world where being a Christian has largely been severed from being the church, such convictions and commitments are increasingly rare.

 As a network of friends who care deeply about the church, the Ekklesia Project asks endorsers to commit to several acts of solidarity: prayer, fasting, the traditional works of mercy, and supporting the work of EP with an annual financial contribution. These concrete practices serve both to embody our common commitment to the church and each other, and to root those commitments in our daily lives.

 Over the years I have deeply appreciated the opportunity to endorse the Ekklesia Project. Since most of us are only able to gather (at best) once a year, being an endorser connects me to my brothers and sisters in the Ekklesia Project and serves as a tangible reminder of our common convictions and work. 


Meet the EP:  Joey Aszterbaum



I live in Hemet, CA with my wife Jolynne, our four children, my in-laws, her sister, and many animals.  


Hemet is approximately 80 miles from the nearest Christian radicals and 2,022 miles from the nearest EP Gathering.


For much of the last decade I was a footsoldier for global capitalism, a Zaccheus. That is, I was a top-producing mortgage loan consultant. For various reasons (many theological) I quit the mortgage business to complete my degree in biblical studies from Hope International University, manage my wife's wedding photography business, help homeschool my kids, and write the occasional blog post about Jesus, politics and the arts 


About four years ago I was excommunicated from the non-denominational church that baptized me into Christ at age 12 and where I had served in ministry ever since. I can think of no better word than "grace" to describe how I avoided total cynicism regarding the body of Christ during my season of "ecclesial homelessness." Two authors that were instrumental in that grace were Stanley Hauerwas and William Cavanaugh. That is how I discovered the Ekklesia Project. That is also how I "fell" into the liturgical tradition. My family communes at St. Alban's Episcopal where I serve as a lector, a lay witness, and a member of the world's tiniest church choir.

New EP Website Coming


While our current website has served a valuable purpose, its limitations have become increasingly frustrating. A new and far more versatile EP Website is currently under development, with the hope that it will be up and running by mid-June. The work is being done as a pro bono gift by Dayspring Technologies, whose staff includes members of Grace Fellowship Community Church and Redeemer Community Church in San Francisco. Among the new features to be offered are better navigability, online registration for the Gathering, a newsletter archive, a redesigned EP logo, and the ability to locate fellow EPers living near you. We are also working to interface our website, newsletter and Facebook page in a manner that will enhance our overall sense of community.We are deeply grateful to Chi-Ming Chien (EP Board Member and Dayspring principal), Young-Ki Kim (project team leader), and our other friends at Dayspring for their generosity!


Gathering 2011 Registration Coming Soon


Gathering 2011, "Neighbors Near and Far," will be July 14-16, Thursday noon through Saturday noon, on the campus of DePaul University in Chicago.  We will open registration soon using a fully automated online registration system. That will allow easier registration for all, online payment with credit card for those who want it, and some more efficient collection of data. Watch for an email announcement that "registration is open." Until then, here is a summary of Gathering Planning.



Plenary Speakers are  Beth Newman (former EP board member), who has written on hospitality; Danny Carroll, who teaches Bible at Denver Seminar and has written on immigration and borders; and Craig Wong (longtime EP endorser) who directs Grace Urban Ministries and works on immigration reform. Mark Lau Branson will lead us in lectio divina on Luke 10.   Erin Martin, pastor of Wesley UMC (one of our CFI congregations) will be our opening preacher.  Gabriel and Jeanette Salguero, pastors of The Lambs Church in Manhattan, will preach our closing worship service, and will lead a workshop on "The Church and Immigration: Advocacy and Social Service."  George Dardess will lead a workshop on relating to Muslim neighbors. Planning for two other workshops is still in process