January 2012
Ekklesia Project News
In This Issue
  •  Congregational Formation Initiative Update 
  •  Regional Gathering in Portland 
  • New on bLOGOS     
  • Two Workshops Announced for Summer Gathering  
  • Meet the EP:   Jon Foiles 


Visit the Ekklesia Project Website   


the Ekklesia Project


Gwen Meharg, artist
Gwen Meharg, artist

Update: Congregational Formation Initiative


EP continues to invite congregations to consider some of the resources and processes it has developed for nurturing congregational formation. (In case you're wondering, that's the curious little"CFI" tab on the front page of the EP website.) You are encouraged to take a look at these resources and consider whether one of the three different ways of engaging them might suit your congregational setting. To be clear, while some entire congregations have used some of these resources, they are usually used by smaller study groups within the congregation, which then function (we hope!) as leaven within the larger batch of dough.


Beginning in February, the EP newsletter for the next several months will feature stories from pastors who have used CFI materials and processes in their congregations. We think you'll enjoy hearing about some of the fruit of this important EP initiative and perhaps also be encouraged to think further about ways you and your congregation might be involved.


If you have questions about CFI, such as which of the three partnerships might be best for your congregational situation, would like to be in contact with a church leader who has engaged in this process, or would simply like to discuss congregational formation with other EP friends, please contact the CFI support team and we will be in contact with you. We would also be happy to receive applications for our next cohort of congregations engaging in CFI, which we plan to launch this fall.






Regional Gathering in Portland, Oregon    


This year's regional gathering seeks to foster conversations about the nature and mission of the church by engaging the life and thought of one of the most influential Christians of the twentieth century, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In partnership with the Ekklesia Project, this conference is dedicated to fostering subversive Christian friendships in which Christians from a variety of denominational, cultural, and economic locations can find encouragement and edification from one another. The fundamental purpose of this meeting is to spur one another on to live faithfully into Christ's call to radical discipleship. 

Our speaker for this year is Barry Harvey. Barry is professor of theology at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He is the author of 'Can These Bones Live?' and 'Another City', and has written and spoken extensively on the witness and wisdom of Bonhoeffer. 
Friday, Feburary 17 - 7:00 PM 
Learning to Live Polyphonically in a World Come of Age 
Saturday, February 18 - 10:00 AM 
Praying the Psalms with Dietrich Bonhoeffer 
Saturday, February 18 - 3:30 PM 
A Tale of Two Pastors: Bonhoeffer's Participation in the Plot Against Hitler


For further information please contact Michael Munk.


New on bLOGOS:

The Holy One of God ravenna

By Janice Love

"Here we are, halfway through this Epiphany season. In perusing through some of the Revised Common lectionary texts I noticed for the first time that we, the church, spend nearly this entire seven week season of Epiphany in the first chapter of Mark's gospel. For a gospel that is very much about being on the move - forty times in sixteen chapters the Greek word for immediately/at once/then occurs - this seems counterintuitive."

Read More

Gathering 2012 - July 5-7 - Chicago (DePaul University)

 Updates on Two Workshops:

  • "Cultivating a Taste for Discipleship" will be led by Ragan Sutterfield, with Brent Laytham assisting.
  • Englewood Christian Church (Indianapolis) will present ways their slow conversation has been transformational and led them into mission in their neighborhood


Meet the EP: Jon Foiles


I grew up in central Illinois.  I grew up mostly attending evangelical megachurches in Decatur. I grew up believing that one's primary relationship with God was constituted by what one did not do--drink, swear, have sex with one's boyfriend/girlfriend, etc. The youth group I was a part of while growing up represented a lot of the excesses of evangelicalism; the youth pastor would rewrite contemporary song lyrics (e.g., Santana's "Smooth") to become praise and worship songs. I grew up thinking that salvation, or Christianity for that matter, was primarily a series of doctrines to which one intellectually consented.  


When I went to the University of Illinois for college I moved into a Christian cooperative house. This house (named Koinonia, unsurprisingly) was affiliated with the American Baptist Churches campus ministry. University Baptist Church was next door and started at 11, both important to a college student, so I began attending there. After a few weeks, I received an email from the pastor thanking me for coming and inviting me out for coffee. I wasn't used to this level of contact with a pastor at all, so I decided to keep checking it out for a few weeks, which jonfoileseventually morphed into the rest of my college career. Brett, my campus pastor, also had his Ph.D. from Northwestern in historical theology, and he encourageed my intellectual endeavors, as well as my service in the local church. He introduced me to John Howard Yoder, and I will never forget when he emailed me to tell me that there was a theologian speaking on campus that night who I would probably love. The theologian was Stanley Hauerwas, and he spoke on sacrificing the sacrifices of war.  


I received my M.Div. from Northern Seminary in June of this year, and I'm looking to enroll in a Ph.D. program in theology in the near future. I've recently become connected with a church plant in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago called Church of the Shepherd, and I'm looking forward to doing good things with them. My theological heroes, at least the modern ones, would be John Howard Yoder, Stanley Hauerwas, Robert Jenson, Rowan Williams, Henri de Lubac, and William Cavanaugh.  I was actually a T.A. at Northern, working under a professor named David Fitch.  I think I first heard about EP through Hauerwas' writings, but I started attending when Dave introduced me to it. I've attended the last couple of gatherings and I can honestly say it's one of the few times I feel really at home given both my theological and ecclesial convictions. The ecumenism in particular draws me, and I love being a part of that conversation.


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The Ekklesia Project is a network of Christians from across the Christian tradition who rejoice in a peculiar kind of friendship rooted in our common love of God and the Church. We are convinced that to call ourselves Christian means that following Jesus Christ must shape all areas of life.