Church in the Cliff has a story to tell just as each of us do. And this congregation, originally named CityChurch, has an over ten year history with progressive Baptists. Some people think those two terms don’t go together, but they can, and many in our midst claim them both. One of the ways we acknowledge the unique story of our church is to continue to be in relationship with the Alliance of Baptists, a movement which began as a dissenting voice in Baptist life 23 years ago and today connects progressive Christians of many stripes.
Stephanie and Cara take the lead this week in sharing their individual relationships both to CitC and to the Alliance and why they value the connection between the two (which our congregation recently voted to continue.) Stephanie writes that Alliance is a “relational web that reminds us that there are other people in the U.S. and around the world that also share our fundamental values: the desire to welcome and affirm all people, freedom of individual conscience, a desire for deep reflection and thoughtful living as individuals and community, recognition that God is mystery and cannot be contained in a neatly defined package, a desire for inclusive gender language about God and each other, and a commitment to social justice and sustainable living.” (See Stephanie’s entire reflection below.)
It is good to know that we are not the only ones yearning to fill the church-shaped hole with thoughtful and life-giving community. Indeed we are but one of the many many places where God is bringing about the new.
So how to make sense of this connection if you don’t identify as Baptist? I think the answer is simple: as a church we are called to love each other and that means that we are willing to engage with those things that others in our community love. Listen to Cara talk about the power of her experience of being ordained by our church and affiliated with the Alliance. It is a love story. Listen to Stephanie talk about being drawn to an Alliance church that was getting into trouble because it was open and affirming and trying to do things differently. It is another love story. Indeed Church in the Cliff itself is a sort of love-child of a group of Dallas area Baptists who wanted to form a community of grace and nonjudgement and to reach out to folks who would never visit a ‘regular church.’ Long-time member Oz wrote a brief history of Citc/Church in the Cliff which I also include below and hope everyone will take a look at to learn more.
So whether you are Baptist or Ecu-mergent or something else entirely, it is always good to be thankful for friends on this journey. Join us Sunday as Cara and Stephanie and others share more about the Alliance of Baptists and we all reflect on our connection to the broader Body of Christ.
Ps Tonight Richie and I host the community meal. It is also Perl’s birthday so join us for grilled chicken, Greek salad, and ice cream Sundays at our new place. 2515 Gladiolus Lane Dallas TX 75233. 630 pm. Old and New friends alike!
|Stephanie’s Reflection for CitC Weekly Newsletter August 11, 2010
During our summer series, “Filling the Church- Shaped Hole,” we have been listening to each other’s stories and learning about one another’s faith or philosophical journeys. Each week we asked the questions: What does this faith tradition or philosophical path bring to the CitC community? What parts of our personal histories do we feel will contribute positively to the CitC community? What parts of our previous experiences do we wish to leave behind? What draws us to CitC? Who are we as a community and who do we want to be?
This week we shift gears a bit and begin to examine where CitC locates itself within the broader contemporary faith conversation. The next three weeks we will engage the Alliance of Baptists, the United Church of Christ, and the emergent conversation. This week Cara Stoneham and I will be sharing about our affiliation and experience with the Alliance. CitC is the fourth Alliance church I have called home since graduating college.
One of the refrains I hear over and over in Alliance churches is the assumption that “We are the only church like this; aren’t we lucky to have found this place.” While each church is certainly unique, what I appreciate about the Alliance is the opportunity to be connected with a far reaching association of churches whose theology and practice resonate with what I have come to love about CitC. The Alliance of Baptists is not a denomination, but rather a fascinating relational web that reminds us that there are other people in the U.S. and around the world that also share our fundamental values: the desire to welcome and affirm all people, freedom of individual conscience, a desire for deep reflection and thoughtful living as individuals and community, recognition that God is mystery and cannot be contained in a neatly defined package, a desire for inclusive gender language about God and each other, and a commitment to social justice and sustainable living.
The Alliance of Baptists has given me the chance to retain the things I love about my own Baptist heritage, while also allowing me to cultivate values that are central to my life and vocational calling. The fact that I have been able to grow within and contribute to such vibrant, diverse, and quirky communities has made this journey all the more sweet.
I look forward to sharing with you my personal story of discovering and committing to the Alliance and to hear Cara’s story of call, ordination, and endorsement by the Alliance. Come on Sunday for an opportunity to listen, respond, laugh, and be community for one another.
With great appreciation,
|City Church/Church in the Cliff History by William “Oz” Osborne
We were so excited to have a new Baptist church starting in our neighborhood by a friend from Royal Lane Baptist, Nancy Allison. The first meeting place was at the Pastoral Counseling Center on Lemon. We had a nucleus of about 30 people. The name, City Church was very important to us and we chose it carefully. We expected to be a “City Church”. I started the first website and although it wasn’t nearly as professional as we have now, it was a beginning. We were initially sponsored by Royal Lane, Wilshire, and Park Cities Baptist churches. From the beginning we have been an accepting and affirming congregation welcoming everyone.
Our first move was to the Theater Three in the Quadrangle. We would frequently attend the performances at Theater Three, as a group during half price night. We had many artists, both musical and visual attending CC and participating in various art shows and jazz and other events.
We called ourselves a church in a box, as we had to put everything away each Sunday morning and then get them out again the next Sunday. We had a choir of about 8 or 9 people, and were led by Vaun Little. Our pastor was Vicki Lumpkin. Vaun led us in a Christmas musical production at Wilshire Baptist. Judy Felder was one of the stars.
Vaun Little died suddenly and we were left without anyone to lead the singing. Vicki asked me if I would lead the singing and I told her that I would play my trombone and lead. I did that for several months and enjoyed it very much. Ann Morton was our pianist. We had a business office on Oak Lawn. I was treasurer and was assisted by Judy Bob Moseley. When both of us got overwhelmed, doing the bookkeeping, we hired Clarice Bishop who had been my business manager before I retired.
Vicki and Charles Darwin found a location for us near Oak Lawn on Routh Street which we began leasing. Initially this place was perfect, as we had a business office there, children’s room, Sunday school rooms, pastor’s study and worship space. Vicki resigned and we called a new pastor, Laura Fregin. Her husband, Fred, moved to Dallas with her and they worked together as a team helping to build the church.
We did however outgrow the space on Routh Street and the Fregins found a church, Trinity Presbyterian, in Oak Cliff where we met for several Sundays. We than moved to the present location, Kidd Springs recreation center. In May of 2009, Laura resigned and we called Courtney Pinkerton as our present pastor.
|Church in the Cliff Board
Ross Prater, Moderator
Damon Petite, Treasurer
Kristin Schutz, Clerk
James Fairchild, Trustee
Cara Stoneham, Trustee
Please contact Kristin Schutz, clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org or moderator Ross Prater, at email@example.com with any questions or feedback.