The Ekklesia Project

 April 2011





Christ is risen!

The Lord

is risen indeed.






In This Issue: 



Register Now
for Gathering 2011 



New on bLOGOS


Why Endorse?



Meet the EP



New Website Coming Soon


Descending Theology: The Resurrection


From the far star points of his pinned extremities,

cold inched in - black ice and squid ink -

till the hung flesh was empty.

Lonely in that void even for pain,

he missed his splintered feet,

the human stare buried in his face.

He ached for two hands made of meat

he could reach to the end of.

In his corpse's core, the stone fist

of his heart began to bang

on the stiff chest's door, and breath spilled

back into that battered shape. Now


it's your limbs he comes to fill, as warm water

shatters at birth, rivering every way.

                                                                          Mary Karr


 Gwen Meharg, artist

Gwen Meharg, "Dancing in the Glory"

used by permission

Gathering 2011 Registration Is Open!


Use this link to register for the Gathering. This fully automated online registration system allows online payment with credit card or payment by check. Please, please read the instructions at the top of the webpage before beginning the registration process.  As always, persons who register by May 25 will be eligible to win one of three $100 gift certificates to Brazos, Doulos, or Wipf & Stock. 


Plenary Speakers are Beth Newman (former EP board member), who has written on hospitality; Danny Carroll, who teaches Bible at Denver Seminary 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, and lead a workshop on lectio and hospitality. 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 our Muslim neighbors. Debbie Gish (Church of the Sojourner) and Susie Logan (Church of the Servant King) will lead a workshop on embodying hospitality in the household.


New on bLOGOS




Why Do You Weep?

by Ragan Sutterfield 


"Why do you weep?"  That seems to be the central question of the Gospel reading this Easter Sunday.  It is the question the angels ask of Mary when she looks into the tomb; it is the question the resurrected Christ asks when he finds Mary in the garden and she mistakes him for the gardener.





Why I Am An EP Endorser


Jeff Bullock (All Saints by the Sea Episcopal Church, Santa Barbara, Ca.) writes: "My wifBullockse, Nancy, and I endorsed the Ekklesia Project almost ten years ago. Our endorsement followed an extended period of prayer and reflection. We committed only when we felt we could completely pledge ourselves to support the Project and, more particularly, the radical friendship required by endorsement.  

In the ensuing years, our friendships in the Project and our shared commitment to journeying together as the church for the church, has nourished our daily lives and our respective ministries in the church and outside it. I'd be a far poorer Christian (in very many ways) without these friendships."


Meet the EP: John McFadden


Heather Carlson, who coordinates the "Meet the EP" section of our newsletter, suggested that it was high time that the editor introduce himself here. I live in Appleton, Wisconsin, am married to Susan, an academic gerontologist, and together we are parents to two adult children, one married and expecting her second child. I served two United Church of Christ congregations, the second for 23 years. It was during that second pastorate that Stan Hauerwas recruited me to the EP with semi-coherent but intriguing talk about "a bunch of wobblies and radical Christian folk, and they're up in your neck of the woods!" I attended the second Gathering, became an endorser, and discovered a community of precious Christian friends who quickly became central to my life and ministry.


When you live with a gerontologist, you tend to talk about your own aging more than most people do.  We dreamed about entering a "third age" together that would center in simplicity, service, friendship and hospitality--the core practices that get pushed aside in overly busy lives. So after 35 years of senior pastorates, I took a plunge into God's unknown. I "retired" from my parish and took a part-time position with Goodwill Industries, developing a workplace chaplaincy that seeks to make the organization "faith-friendly" to all religious traditions. After many decades of ministering primarily to privileged people, I have spent the last five years being present to persons facing significant cognitive, physical and socioeconomic challenges. My secular friends thought I had plunged off the deep end while my EP friends said "of course." Which is one of the reasons I am glad to be part of the EP.


I am now concluding my Goodwill chaplaincy to focus on the work Susan and I have been doing together on aging, dementia, friendship and community. Our book on this topic (a marriage that survives co-authoring a book is likely to stand up to any other test) will be published by Johns Hopkins next month.  We challenge communities to extend the practices of hospitality and inclusion to those with dementia and learn how to live faithful friendships with friends who no longer remember that we are their friends.  I write about these themes (and shamelessly promote the book) on our blog. We offer lectures and workshops on these themes in a wide variety of settings, but are particularly eager to speak to congregations.


We love to have EP friends visit when they are passing through, and when Susan finally retires from UW-Oshkosh next year (if our governor's policies do not force her to do so sooner) we hope to visit many of you! 


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!