Story

Love, honesty, action

Hi, welcome to our virtual coffee shop. Pull up a chair, take the load of your feet. Let’s chat.

So who are you, where you from, what do you do in life?
I’m Fred Shope, from Rock Hill, South Carolina. I’m a middle school teacher’s assistant and an elder in a church that is struggling to transition into the 21st century.

Can I get you a drink? Cappucino, earl grey, dandelion and burdock, pale ale?
Since it’s 10:30 in the morning here, I think I’ll go with a cappuccino.

Would you like a doughnut or pastry to go with that?
A doughnut sounds good.

So, if you had to describe the church/project/experiment/thingy you are currently involved with in one sentence, what would that sentence be?
I’m part of a church in the Bible Belt of the U.S. trying to influence the church to a more emerging direction.

Are you an instigator? / new recruit? / have absolutely no recollection of how you got involved?
I guess I could be considered a new recruit. I was introduced to the emerging conversation almost two years ago. I’ve since been reading a lot of authors and bloggers, trying to figure out how all of this fits with my faith and my ministry

What do you value most about being part of it?
The openness and community, and the willingness to question things that were the “accepted wisdom” for so long.

What excites you most about it?
I believe the emerging church is the next work of the Spirit to revolutionize the Church, sort of a new Reformation.

Has anyone ever turned up out of the blue not knowing what to expect?
What did they say?

Not that I can recall.

Three words that describe your attitude to ‘being church’ in the big wide world: Love, honesty, action

Three words that DON’T:
Judgement, buildings, organizations

You have this weird dream – you meet Jesus face to face.
Where does it happen, what does he say to you?

We’re on top of a mountain and Jesus says, “I love you and accept you more than you can know. Now, I want you to show that love to those you come in contact with.”

What’s the big secret you’re itching to share with everyone?
That’s God’s grace is wider and deeper than we can imagine.

What would your ’emerging church survival kit’ contain?
A laptop so I can keep up with emerging sites, books by N.T. Wright, Phillip Yancey, Brennan Manning

Anything else you’d like to share with us before you have to rush off?
A phrase that sticks in my mind from an old Jewish saying – Cover yourself in the dust of your Rabbi.

Thanks. Good to see you. Have a good day!
You too.