Our highlighted ministry for the third quarter of 2018 is the Atlanta Bar Church (ABC).
FROM PASTOR KAREN STEPHENSON… In the beginning, the Atlanta Bar Church (ABC) began as a beer and hymns event that may, or may not, have been planned from my laptop during my second year of seminary in a Christian History class. Basically, I planned a party and people came, and they came back the next month, and the next.
After about a year, a group of regular attendees approached me and asked if, as a community, we could take communion. As non-traditional as beer and hymns was, I wanted the community to have a taste of the traditional Lutheran liturgy that I had come to love. So, working with Sandra, my Hostess of Hymnody (great job title, right?) we decided to do a U2charist. We used the order of worship from the ELW, and plugging in "secular music" into the order of worship, we had a worship service in a bar; sermon, prayers, communion, and everything! And it was beautiful! Four years later we are still at it! We continue to do "Liquid Liturgies" and have as our goal to reach out to people, who for whatever reason, will never, ever, EVER walk into the doors of a traditional church.
Where we are now: as of May 31, I have been called as the full-time mission developer of Atlanta Bar Church. This is so exciting as previously, ABC had only been a side project that took a back seat to seminary, the ordination process, and to my call at another church.
During this one-year term call, I am charged with further developing ABC. What this means is that I have more time to meet and get to know the people of our neighborhood and focus on growing this congregation and getting our name out in the community. We (our team and the people who attend on a regular basis) think we are pretty unique when it comes to what kind of community we are, and we want more people to know about who we are and that God loves them just as they are!
For this reason, with grateful and humble hearts, we are thrilled to be a Southeastern Synod Partner in Celebration. We plan to use any grant monies for outreach and marketing. Previously, our budget only covered the costs of the venue where we meet and to pay our musicians who are vital to who we are and how we worship.