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Yale Divinity School (YDS) has received a grant from the Lilly Endowment to establish a program, Reimagining Church: New Models for the 21st Century, aimed at helping churches find dynamic new approaches to congregational life and community engagement. 

Over the next five years, 40 Connecticut congregations will be invited to examine and perhaps reimagine their mission, participate in workshops with visionary leaders, and design new approaches for their ministries. Facilitated by YDS senior ministry students, the workshops will consider anew dynamic ways to engage their neighborhoods and community. 

Why is this important to know? Because AHCC has been chosen to be one of the first congregations to participate in this program! 

Reimagining Church offers congregations a chance to engage in a process of self-reflection and self-assessment, with a goal of identifying new directions for congregational life. In other words: to reimagine how to be Church for these times. Who are we now? Who do we hope to become?  Who do our communities, who does the world need us to become?  In addition to doing our own internal work, participants in the project will have a chance to work with a number of visionary leaders who will help us to think broadly and creatively about transformation.  The outcomes of the year’s work fall in two categories.  First, each church will ask and answer those questions for themselves, beginning, we hope, to enact some concrete ideas.  Second, the program invites each church to share the story of its own reimagining with other participating churches to learn from and inspire one another. 

The program recognizes that each congregation is likely to be in a different place in its self-assessment and vision for its future, so there is ample flexibility to adapt to the needs of each church.  A church like AHCC that has already done extensive visioning, may well chart a different path through the year than a church that is just starting to think about its road ahead. 

AHCC will be working with Andi Lloyd, a 3rd year M.Div. student at Yale Divinity School.  Andi will serve as the facilitator for AHCC’s working group on this project.  You can learn more about the project here: https://reimaginingchurch.yale.edu.  And you’ll be able to follow AHCC’s story on our own page within that website: https://reimaginingchurch.yale.edu/asylum-hill-congregational-church.