a collective of Post-Evangelical, Progressive Evangelical, Non-Denominational and Free-Church tradition churches, organizations, leaders and networks (and all who seek a just and generous expression of the Christian faith) seeking to embody an ecosystem for a '"Just and Generous Progressive Evangelical expression of faith in the United States."
to make visible what is often invisible; the progressive Evangelical expression of faith in the United States, to resource the groundswell of churches, leaders, organizations, and people who are expressing a just and generous Christianity, and to create pathways of connection and belonging among existing and emerging churches, and all who wish to live in progressive Christian ways.
Over recent decades, a number of innovative leaders have emerged . They've taken big risks and made big sacrifices. Around them, Progressive, Emergence, and Missional networks have taken shape.
These leaders and networks now share a vision for a movement-building collaborative. They recognize a shared ethos that is emerging among them. They have demonstrated the desire to work together in building a healthy ecosystem across their spheres of influence. They have built trust through many shared projects. What remains is to develop a sustainable organizational structure that can serve as a hub to support and extend the momentum that is building to seize this moment of opportunity.
As a collaborative network, OPEN does not try to dictate its own pre-established agenda. Rather, it elicits from participants shared values and priorities, leading to defined desired outcomes. The current list of outcomes has been generated in just such a way and will be adjusted and adapted as new needs and opportunities arise. The role of OPEN is not to replace the work being done by any other group or to compete with them for resources for its own benefit. Rather, OPEN seeks to identify and organize around the big goals that can only be achieved together, shared goals that will benefit all participants in accomplishing their unique goals and mission.
THREE CENTERS OF FOCUS
OPEN centers its work in three areas to support the people movement that is a Progressive Evangelical expression of Just and Generous Christian faith among churches, leaders, spokespeople, and organizations.
OPEN will organize staff and resources around each of the areas recognizing the particular and diverse skills needed to create meaningful connection and action.
Working in these three areas, OPEN seeks in 2016 to:
- Create viable networks of churches, leaders, and organizations who will support the underlying people movement of a Just and Generous Progressive Evangelical Expression of Christianity.
- Articulate in the public arena a robust Progressive Evangelical Christian ethos that integrates spiritual vibrancy, theological depth, and holistic mission.
- Provide 'a sharing economy of resources' for Churches and Christian communities to sharpen and harness best practices.
- Establish a Christian media partnership to promote spokespersons for Progressive Evangelical Christianity, using both social and mass media.
- Launch a collaborative branding/messaging strategy.
- Create a church-locator/organization-locator/ministry-locator tool to help people migrate toward vibrant Progressive Evangelical churches, and to find outlets for activism and engagement in national and regional efforts.
- Establish a online/App based news aggregator linked to action.
- Facilitate ongoing training and equipping for a new generation of transformative leaders via Seminary alliance, collaborative programs, identification of summer events for training, relationship building.
- Organize regional connectivity via face-to-face gatherings to bring together new groups of people in sharing, solidarity, and collaboration.
- Develop and strengthen key alliances for action.
OPEN is an initiative of Convergence, an organization seeking to bring together people and organizations to solve great problems and participate in new opportunities to foster abundant life for all. We do this by focusing our efforts on what we call the "Four P's."
We believe God loves all people, and all people bear God's image. For that reason, following the way of Jesus, we stand in loving solidarity with all people, and we seek to help all people develop their God-given potential. We stand against ideologies and systems of privilege that harm and diminish people based on gender identity, religion, race, sexual orientation, economic status, background, or citizenship. Filled with the justice, joy, and peace of God's Spirit, we love all people as neighbors and seek the common good of all.
We believe that all creation reflects the glory and goodness of God, and we accept our God-given responsibility to love this planet and care for it with wisdom and reverence. We grieve the ways past and present generations have exploited creation, and we seek to live a new and sustainable way of life, reverently and gratefully treasuring this planet and all its creatures, healing and restoring what our species has harmed.
We lament that human greed, pride, hostility, foolishness, and fear drive some to live in luxury and complacency while others suffer in poverty and misery. We seek to join God in knowing, understanding, and caring for our brothers and sisters who live in poverty. God's Spirit energizes us to bring good news to the poor in word and deed, and the Scriptures teach us to seek generosity and justice so that all people, poor and rich, can work together for mutual liberation.
We lament the signs of violence, hostility, and fear among us: domestic violence, unsafe neighborhoods, overflowing prisons, a proliferation of weapons, dividing walls, personal and organized crime, political corruption, and wars within and among nations. God is the God of peace, Christ's cross is a symbol of peace, and the Spirit of God calls and empowers us to be peacemakers - praying, singing, teaching, befriending, advocating, acting, voting, and working for peace wherever we go.
The Convergence Movement
is bringing together forward-thinking Catholics, Evangelicals, and mainline Protestants, along with ethnic and peace churches and other willing colleagues, in a growing movement-building collaborative. This movement connects people and organizations to solve great problems and participate in new opportunities, especially to heal the human spirit, to foster abundant life in community, to seek the common good, and to promote responsible living with the earth.
Find out more about other Convergence initiatives here.