New Alliance communities sound the call

Alliance communities – groups formed around a specific issue or concern – are a vital part of the work of the Alliance of Baptists. A number of communities focused on a diversity of topics already exist, and members are always encouraged to form new ones whenever they feel called.

This year three new communities are being birthed, and organizers are inviting all who feel inclined to join them in their efforts. 

They are:

• A community to support the Mayan Intercultural Seminary (Seminario Intercultural Mayanese) in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. The focus of the community will be to encourage and support the seminary’s work and to develop a partnership between Alliance churches and indigenous churches in Chiapas. The seminary’s faculty and students work with more than 40 indigenous congregations throughout southern Mexico. The pastors and workers they train are from the indigenous tribes and speak the local languages. The Mayan Intercultural Seminary in Chiapas not only offers a seminary education for young church leaders, but also provides support in many ways to the villages from which the students come. The new Alliance community will be looking for ways to help strengthen the seminary’s economic solidarity projects with Mayan women and artisans and a growing sustainable agriculture program, while building relationships with small congregations in the area. Email mimi.walker@dhbc.org to learn more about this new community.

• A community aimed at the future of faith formation. Organizers are calling all congregational educators to join them in a community focused on “The Future of Faith Formation: Dialogues and Transformation within Community Education.” Within the landscape of churches, religious education and faith formation resemble the structure of more conservative institutions and less of the dynamic theological vision often found during Sunday worship. This current chasm between praxis and vision has birthed an essential question: How does the church’s responsibility of education reflect its progressing theology; shape the moral and ethical lives of its congregants; meet the physical, intellectual and spiritual needs of the community; and engage in progressive forms that parallel its forward-thinking vision? All ministers are invited to this newly formed "Dialogues" cohort to craft a modern idea of congregational faith formation. Email drkenneth1031@gmail.com to learn more about this new community.

• A community around new and renewing faith communities. This is aimed at clergy or laity engaged in the work of midwifing the birth (or re-birth) of new ways of doing and being church, new ways of imagining ourselves in our neighborhoods, and new ways of showing God’s love while working for God’s justice in the world. People are invited to join Adam Gray, pastor of new faith community Redeeming Church in St. Petersburg, Fla., for an initial conversation during lunch at the Alliance Annual Gathering on Friday, April 26. You also may email him at adam@redeemingchurch.org

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