Since May 2021, I have been working with a group of folks to start a new faith community. You can read the covenant below. And here's the up to date link with info.
Beloved Community Charlotte is a community of faith seeking to live the radical way of Jesus in Charlotte, NC.
We covenant to…
Celebrate and honor our interdependence within and responsibility to God’s abundant creation
Gather regularly for worship, building community, and joining in the struggle for justice.
Care for the spiritual and material needs of our fellow BCC members and the poor and oppressed within the larger community
Antiracist practice, full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ peoples, and continuing to learn how to undo oppression in and around us.
Affirm the varied gifts of each member.
Revise and revisit this covenant every two years, renewing membership with BCC at that time.
In addition to this covenant, we will create a “How we fulfill our covenant” document that is refreshed every two years. We will describe the practices of our community in this document- perhaps some aspirational, but mostly realistic. The two year plan will include our commitments in the following areas:
How we fulfill our covenant…
We practice an embodied Christian peace theology, racial justice and anti-oppression. Praxis= a rhythm of action & reflection; constant and consistent engagement in anti-racism, being open and affirming to LGBTQIA+, exploring alternatives to institutional church, experimenting with co-creative faith expressions. Evidence of rhythms of praxis are found in the ways in which we fulfill our covenant.
Worship that is liberatory, creative, inclusive, both tethered to a tradition and embracing the wildness of God
Immerse ourselves in liberatory Biblical translations, exegesis, commentary
Use A Woman’s Lectionary for the Whole Church (year W, 2022-2023; year B, 2023-2024) by Wil Gafney.
Emphase the work of BIPOC theologians, artists, poets, and healers. Highlights for 2022-2024: Base Christian Communities, Paulo Friere’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Emergent Strategy, Howard Thurman, Marian Wright Edelman, James Baldwin, Keri Day, Climate Justice theologians, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, and more. (resource list linked here).
Cultivate Biblical imagination
Tell the Bible stories in creative and interactive ways.
Connect the Biblical story to current day context and struggle
Honoring the rhythms of the liturgical season as well as the environmental seasons.
Mark the seasons with sacred ritual
Honor everyone’s gifts, learning styles, and their ways of building relationships with each other and with God.
Intentionally craft spaces of reflection, response, prayer, and proclamation through various forms, expressions, and practices.
Provide access for everyone to engage in leadership, response, or service.
Cultivate Spiritual Practices, individual and communal
Utilize worship time for contemplative and creative spiritual practices.
Community Life & Collective Pastoral Care
Each person is invited to care for one another.
We will make an effort to connect with each other outside of worship gatherings.
We will practice active listening with one another. [listening and reflecting back what the person has said.]
We will commit to community-building and care to share in joy and suffering, especially with the most marginalized, in order to strive for there being no lack within the community
We will gather regularly for the sake of connection and fun.
We will share current event updates,concerns, and matters of justice & shared struggle with one another
Nurture spiritual fluency by creating a culture of shared Spiritual practice
Individuals and groups will engage in regular conversations and check ins on matters of faith and spirituality
BCC members will take the initiative to offer pastoral and spiritual care for one another
Struggle for Justice & Specificity of Place and Context- communal identity, context, and call
We will collectively analyze our individual and collective experiences and needs to strategize for taking collective action toward justice
We commit to nonviolent collective resistance of the external policies, norms, and systems that diminish the abundant life God intends for all creation
We will honor the native land when we gather. An example is found here.
We will stay attuned to social issues and concerns in our city.
We will discern where it is best for BCC to gather. We commit to taking care of the place in which we gather, with hands on labor and monetary funds.
Collective Funds/Distribution of Resources/Stewardship/Budget
We will give money and resources to Beloved Community Charlotte for the purpose of mission, leadership, and collective needs.
Holistic Education and Growth
We are working towards holistic Christian formation. In so doing, we will explore Spiritual Discipline, Practice, Ritual, and Ceremony with all of our senses and expressions.
We will find appropriate ways to engage the children in worship and community building
We will engage in multiple methods of holistic education and growth, providing access to as many as possible and opportunities for different learning styles.
Examples may include: book study, workshop, online classes, hikes, podcasts, art making, cultural interventions, etc.
Membership, Accountability, Partnerships, Evaluation
Beloved Community Charlotte’s accountability and community partners are the Alliance of Baptists, QC Family Tree, and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Shared Leadership/Governance/Anti-hierarchical practices
Quarterly, we will have a BCC meeting to discuss finances, governance, and leadership.