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Divergent Church: The Bright Promise of Alternative Faith Communities

Divergent Church: The Bright Promise of Alternative Faith Communities
Jeff Zimmerman

Pastors Timothy Kim and Neil Ellingson of Root and Branch Church in Chicago are often sought after to participate in conferences and interviewed for books regarding new churches. They are doing ministry at the forefront and being recognized for their contributions. Most recently Root and Branch was included the book Divergent Church, by Tim Shapiro and Kara Faris with the Centers for Congregations in Indianapolis.

From the Introduction, page ix, “A new kind of congregation is emerging, one in which tried and true practices are expressed in creative ways. To develop innovative ways of expressing these practices, talented leaders — both clergy and laity — are developing congregations shaped by unique, contemporary expressions of time-honored religious practices.”

Tim shares, “This is how Divergent Church begins, and this is basically what they were looking for as they brought us leaders together. Root and Branch is most prominently featured in the chapters: ‘Practices’ and ‘Practice of Conversation.’ In ‘Practices,’ Root and Branch is used as an example of creating norms around language and theological deconstruction. In ‘Practice of Conversation,’ the same idea is extended to include how we use sermons and Welcome Table conversations to build that culture.”

The reach of Root and Branch Church extends well beyond our region and denomination. Tim and Neil are helping the church move in new directions and we are proud sponsors: “One divergent church that exemplifies sermon as conversation is Root and Branch of Chicago, Illinois, which is a part of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)” (page 50). Thank you Tim and Neil.

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