In the Fall of 2006, five local ELCA churches formed the emergent Missions Prayer Team (eMPT) to think about ways to engage with an increasingly post-denominational, post-modern culture where many had “given up” on traditional church models or had never considered participation in an institutional church before.
The eMPT approached local indigenous leaders and began to brainstorm ways in which faith in Jesus Christ could be expressed within an autonomous community that was non-threatening to unbelievers and unconventional when compared to more traditional church models. The eMPT invited Ryan Marsh, currently working at Church of the Apostles, to spearhead this new community of faith for those that had become disenchanted, inactive, and/or marginalized from the prevalent Christian culture.
The new group met in Edmonds, WA on Thursday nights to share a meal, stories, fears, and hopes of starting a community of faith. Along the way this home group realized that in sharing community with one another, they had become a “church” – an imperfect, fumbling-headlong-into-God’s-grace kind of Church.
On Ash Wednesday 2007, the small closed core group gave give birth to an open community called Church of the Beloved.
Since 2007, the church has spread its wings in various ways, purchasing the Rosewood building, a Christianity community home; adding multiple services to meet the felt needs of the community; inviting interns to bring new voices for different seasons; hosting luaus and concerts and movie nights; going on celtic retreats; raising vegetables to share with the community; simplifying their programs and writing new liturgies; making beautiful free albums to bless the world with a unique blend of modern and traditional; camping and barbecuing and belting out beer-and-hymn goodness.
At all times, seeking to be the story we want to read–finding presence and gift and welcome for and within the community. Finding God’s fingerprint in all these activities and basking in that relationship that we share with him.
The narrative arc continues to be written.