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Hive mentality

Founder and director of The Hive, a Cincinnati ministry, speaks during NEXT Church gathering

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Troy Bronsink

CINCINNATI — Contemplative. Entrepreneur. Convener. The Rev. Troy Bronsink wears all those hats and probably a few more as the founder and director of The Hive: A Center for Contemplation, Art and Action in Cincinnati.

Bronsink offered his testimony Wednesday as part of the 10th NEXT Church national gathering.

Started in part with assistance from the precursor to 1001 New Worshiping Communities, The Hive offers a variety of classes and programs and, equally important, a community of small groups so that participants can more readily support one another.

“Folks need practice in order to slow down,” Bronsink says in a video promoting The Hive. “In a small group, you can try on new ideas. Hive wisdom is spread across a group.”

The Hive offers a wide variety of courses — in entrepreneurship and trauma-informed care, improv, art, poetry, journaling, yoga, meditation, Christian centering prayer and more.

Per capita, Cincinnati has more entrepreneurs per capita than any other city besides New York City and the Bay Area in California, Bronsink said. The Hive’s funding has a bit of an entrepreneurial bent: about half the income comes from fees paid for classes, while the other half comes from “people saying, ‘I believe in this place,’” Bronsink said.

Bronsink, who also works as stated supply pastor at Bond Hill Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, said he and his family moved to Cincinnati following a series of calamities, including two family cars totaled by one driver, a century-old tree falling on the van that replaced the two cars and the mortgage crisis of about a dozen years ago. All struck the family while Bronsink was doing validated ministry in Atlanta.

“I pulled out the lamest white flag I could and I said, ‘What now?’” he said. “So we moved to Cincinnati.”

He said he’s since learned the truth behind this hard phrase, from Francis of Assisi: “We must bear patiently not being good — and not being thought good.”

A fan of pithy quotes — Bronsink puts some of his favorites on an app and sets them to go off regularly — he said one has recently spoken to him: There is enough around me to do this.

“Whatever your congregation is to build, it is already around them,” he told the pastors, ruling elders and other Presbyterians attending the NEXT Church gathering. “You have to quit searching for it out there and believe it is in you … The great mistake is to think you’re alone in this work.”

Folks need to be taught different practices in order to slow down, Bronsink says in the video. If the group is quiet enough, “you can catch each other’s eye and recognize there’s magic in the air,” he says. “It changes the way you raise your kids and talk to colleagues at work. It changes the way you engage with strangers — even enemies.”

Over time, such a community can have impact on a neighborhood, a city — even an entire region, he says.

But it can take courage even to sign up for a class, he says — the courage to say, “I’ll try this one new thing in an area I haven’t tried before, that there is enough of me to try a new way of showing up in the world.”

“You have to quit searching for it out there and believe it is in you,” he said. “The mystery of Christ revealed is your very life.”

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