Item description for O Lord, Hold Our Hands: How a Church Thrives in a Multicultural World: The Story of Oakhurst Presbyterian Church by Stroupe...
Overview Can people actually touch the reality that Paul talks about in his letter to the Ephesians, a reality where Christ has "broken down the dividing wall"? The experience of Oakhurst Presbyterian Church says, "Yes!" Over the last decade, Oakhurst Presbyterian Church in Decatur, Georgia, has been nationally recognized as a model of a successful multicultural church. Here, in O Lord, Hold Our Hands, pastors Nib Stroupe and Caroline Leach share their story-with all of its peaks and valleys-and, in doing so, provide a guide to multicultural ministry that any church can use to build or enhance its own ministry.
1. We Have Known The Movement Of The City 2. Oakhurst Is A Remarkable Place: Different Cultures Really Can Come Together 3. A Primer On Race 4. Life Together: How We Worship And Learn 5. Out Into The World: The Importance Of Public Ministry 6. Who Are These People?: Stories Of Our Members 7. Seasons Of Celebration: The Details Of Multicultural Ministry 8. Lord, I Want To Thank You: Theological Principles 9. The Journey Is Our Home
Can people actually touch the reality that Paul talks about in his letter to the Ephesians, a reality where Christ has "broken down the dividing wall"? The experience of Oakhurst Presbyterian Church says "Yes " Oakhurst Presbyterian Church in Decatur, Georgia has been nationally recognized as a model of a successful multicultural church. Here, in "O Lord, Hold Our Hands," pastors Nibs Stroupe and Caroline Leach share their story--with all of its peaks and valleys--and, in doing so, provide a guide to multicultural ministry that any church can use to build or enhance its own ministry.
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Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.22" Width: 6.2" Height: 0.52" Weight: 0.6 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 2006
Publisher Westminster John Knox Press
ISBN 0664226981 ISBN13 9780664226985
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Multicultural gospel singing Presbyterian Georgia Church May 22, 2003
The spirit unleashed by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ella Baker of SCLC, John Lewis and Fannie Lou Hamer of SNCC, and James Farmer, Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner of CORE, and the deep South spiritually based civil rights movement lives on in this medium sized (250 member plus) church in the Decatur, Georgia suburb of Atlanta.
Co-pastors, and man and wife, Nibs Stroupe, and Caroline Leach, tell the story of the 'resurrection' of this church from its former 'all-white' self, which had reduced to a few members, due to 'white flight' when a succession of Presbyterian pastors, with the support of the larger church, and nearby Columbia Seminary, of which both authors are graduates, and a determined bi-racial congregation gradually rebuilt itself to reflect the energy and values of 'the movement.'
The book is a work of denominational church history, as Stroupe briefly outlines the S.Presbyterian church's historical theological racism, an outgrowth of slavery and segregation apologetics, as well as a particular congregation's history, and details its transformation, as both pastors give short story after short story of how images, music, Sunday School curriculum, worship service, and congregational priorities gradually adapted to the African-American presence, which presence indeed eventually energized, transformed the worship service, and congregation, and attracted a broad base of whites to the now 'racially balanced' congregation.
Beginning the book with quotations from major media outlets, such as Time Magazine, which have featured the church, it goes back again and again to lessons learned from key individuals in the church's 20 year history under the co-pastorate of Leach and Stroupe. From the transformation of the original glass pastel Jesus, to a darker Jesus figure, more representative of the real historical figures 'african and Egyptian' hue, to the inclusion of gospel music, and extension of the time of service to include more congregational interaction, Stroupe and Leach demonstrate how a deep theological 'listening' is as true a religious process, and 'revitalizing of the church body' as can be found in our time.
The book does not make this process out to have been an easy one. It deals with struggle after struggle as whites and blacks worked to listen to each other, and arrived at compromises, coalitions, and evolving concensus, which has made Oakhurst Presbyterian one of the denomination's most exciting churches, and a hopeful demonstration of what 'real integration' promises.
Stroupe quotes the African-American elder who said of gay folk, 'let all who want to come be welcome,' and settled an issue that still roils the larger, now united Presbyterian denomination. He quotes a young Spelman graduate who did her field research on the church, emphasizing its musical ministry, which is led by an American Methodist Episcopal choir director Ms.Price, while the church retains its more traditional but very flexible chancery choir under Nancy Buss, (both 'integrated' of course..yes, white folks sing gospel music, and the church is the location of an annual gospel choir 'singing event.')
Since I have been attending for several years, I've witnessed a Reggae Christmas, as the President of the church is originally from Jamaica, and I've witnessed an 'Appalachian' emphasis Christmas, as Caroline Leach very much identifies with her Tennesee mountain heritage, and its musical tradition.
At a recent youth Sunday, there was a young couple of Ghanian singers, as well as African dancers, and a young woman giving the sermon who was gifted with what I recognize as a British accent, whether from 'the islands' or Nigeria, I'm not sure.
Week to week, Nibs Stroupe is the primary giver of sermons, although both pastors often do a dialogue sermon, and there is almost always an intern, a woman, or African American student intern, from nearby Columbia Seminary, and many visiting ministers, to vary the pulpit perspective. It is Stroupe's constant theme that the contemporary idols of race, sex, gender, money, power and violence, among others, that are the real threats to the rejuvenated Christianity that our civilization caught a glimpse of in the sixties, and which each week, finds new, and unique expression at this church, of which I am very proud to be a member.
God loves diversity, say Stroupe and Lynch, or he wouldn't have made us so, diverse that is..and this church celebrates diversity.