Tuesday, October 14
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The Presbytery of Northern
Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts
First Presbyterian Church of Barre, Vermont, has partnered with Barre Congregational Church in seeking to engage people who might be uncomfortable deepening their spiritual life within the four walls of a church. Instead, we have been meeting in a local establishment for Theology on Tap.
The group began with a focus on twenty- and thirtysomethings. Our hope was to provide an opportunity for them to explore faith and current events as well as spiritual practices through which God can make a difference in one’s life. We have enjoyed hearing about each other’s prayer practices, exploring Muslim-Christian relations, and challenging one another to carry out random acts of kindness. We gather in a local restaurant or pub, share food and beer (or coffee or soda), and discuss topics that are relevant and affect our daily lives.
We have created a community of people who are drawn to the less-formal conversations that happen at a local eatery. As the group has continued, people beyond the age boundary of 39 years have commented: “Those gatherings sound like a great time. Can I come, too?” Our reply is: “We don’t card. Everyone is welcome!” We continue to think of ways to engage people who have any number of hesitations about organized religion. Sometimes we do so with insight, and other times we fall flat on our faces. We stand right back up and continue to listen for where God might be leading us.
The Presbytery of Northern New England serves 2,877 members of 30 congregations. While some of these date their founding to European immigrants of the 18th and 19th centuries, others are less than three decades old and include newcomers from Brazil, Cambodia, Indonesia, Kenya, South Sudan, and other countries and cultures.
—Rev. Carl Hilton-VanOsdall, pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Barre, Vermont, and Brendon Bass, cochair, mission subcommittee of council
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
When we open our hearts to your love, O God, we can share stories of our seeking and finding you with people of all ages and conditions, and so receive new experiences of your grace. Thank you for the blessings you pour into our lives when we reach out to one another. Amen.