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Episcopal Church healthy congregational practices featured in a groundbreaking video project about ministry: Transforming Churches, Changing the World

January 26, 2011
Office of Public Affairs

Steeped in history, Christ Church in center city Philadelphia, PA doesn’t rely only on its beautiful buildings or historical status. Today, Christ Church offers innovative and pioneering ministries that bridge the church with its community.

“This is a parish that is deeply committed to its neighborhood on all levels,” explained the Rev. Bob Honeychurch, Episcopal Church Officer for Congregational Vitality.

As such, Christ Church is the first of five churches to be featured in a groundbreaking video project, Transforming Churches, Changing the World, produced by the Episcopal Church Office of Communication.

The purpose of the Transforming Churches, Changing the World video project, Honeychurch explained, is to present identifying characteristics of healthy churches. “This is a series about ministry, congregations that demonstrate an engagement with the world around them.”

With a focus on ministry and outreach, Honeychurch noted, “In the Transforming Churches, Changing the World series, we are intentional about identifying characteristics of Episcopal congregations across the church which have demonstrated a hands-on approach to being more accessible to the wide community. They have a sense of themselves that is so compelling to non-church members that it appeals to that ministry.”

Honeychurch believes the series will be used as a learning tool. “This series will be a cornerstone for congregations of all sizes to learn what impact they can make in the lives of their community.”

“This was an opportunity to really spotlight great work that is being done in the Episcopal Church today, “noted Mike Collins, director of digital media. “Transforming Churches, Changing the World is a series of positive stories about how these specific churches are thriving, finding and retaining new members and making a positive impact in their local contexts.”

“It really is about learning about practices of churches, “he said, “We are creating a series of stories that shows we are one church in over 7000 places. We are one church with 7000 stories told in their own ways.”

Christ Church Philadelphia
Honeychurch pointed to Christ Church as deeply committed to its neighborhood. “The initial emphasis is around the bridge ministry, aimed at young adults, “he said. “The bridge ministry bridges the gap to the wider community.”

Founded in 1695, Christ Church is the burial home of seven signers of Declaration of Independence, five signers of United States Constitution “among them Benjamin Franklin. Supporter of the American Revolution, the first General Convention was held at Christ Church, and the first Episcopal Presiding Bishop served as rector.

“We have just as much future as we have past, “rector the Rev. Timothy B. Safford shares in the video.

Highlighted in the video is the Bridge ministry, the brainchild of the Rev. Susan Richardson. “We call it The Bridge because we are close to the Ben Franklin Bridge, “which links Center City Philadelphia with New Jersey.

The Bridge program bridges life and faith through action and ministry. According to the church website: We bridge those who are “in church” and those who feel at its margins – and beyond. We bridge resources with our brothers and sisters who are in need of food, clothing, and shelter.

Future videos in Transforming Churches, Changing the World
A new video in the Transforming Churches, Changing the World series will be presented each month through May 2011.

“We set out looking for a pattern, looking to see if each of these churches did something similar that could be modeled, “Collins said. “What we found was that each church was wildly different, from their way of worship to the makeup of the congregation. We also found that not each church attracts new members the same way. Some come because they are interested in the music or worship in a new context. others come because of social outreach. It’s important to note that not every church measures the size of its congregation by who is sitting in the pews on Sunday.”

Christ Church Philadelphia, PA:

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