These awards recognize "churches and/or individuals who have taken bold steps to help their churches become more healthy, faithful and effective in the changing landscape of religion in our society," the council said.
"We look for churches that are engaging in deeply transformational discernment as they look both inward to their church and outward to their community. We look for models of churches that have found that place where their core values, passions and resources meet the needs of people who are longing for authentic community, to make a difference in the world and to be deeply rooted in the presence of God."
Following are the descriptions of the recipients:
The Haydenville Congregational Church
|The Rev. Mr. Matt Carriker presents a Bold Initiative Award to a delegation from The Haydenville Congregational Church.|
A decade ago the future of this church was uncertain. It was an increasing challenge to care for the building and maintain a sustainable budget. Years of delayed maintenance had left the church in rough shape. Worship attendance was in the single digits. Then the church captured a vision of what they could be. Something true to what they had always been and at the same time; something new. They reached beyond their walls and widened their extravagant welcome. Under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Andrea Ayvazian, they adapted their worship style and their programs to better echo the spirit and longing of those within their community. They claimed an open and affirming approach that offered an authentic and deeply expressed invitation to all. In the last decade their worship attendance has increased over 15 fold. That is mirrored in an increase in church school participation from 4 to over 65. But reaching out to those in need beyond their walls is more important to this church than drawing people in. That is a bold act of faith that we celebrate.
Common Ground - First Churches of Northampton
|The Rev. Mr. Matt Carriker presents a Bold Initiative Award to Sarah Buteux, with Rev. Mr. Todd Weir looking on.|