This past Sunday, Sarah and I drove into the Philadelphia to worship at Broad Street Ministry. Broad Street Ministry is pastored by a variety of staff, but their founding pastor is Bill Golderer. The church is located on Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts, and directly across the street from The Kimmel Center for Performing Arts and the University of the Arts: it is a central area for creativity and artistry in Philaelphia. They have a dynamic ministry going on at Broad Street Ministry (BSM) and it seems that any and all who show up add something to the mix, and offer their services and leadership wherever they can.
One thing I noticed is that they eat a lot at BSM. After their weekly worship gatherings, their worship space is converted into a dining room area and everyone shares meals with each other. Many local homeless come for the service and meal and it is a wonderful way to build relationships with both the local musicians and artists, but also with the homeless. They seem to have a focus on communion and sharing good meals with one another — always a good thing.
Their worship is based pretty much off of a traditional Presbyterian Church (USA) Order of Worship – but yet it is also very alive, which is refreshing. They have a wide variety of musical skills amidst people who attend, so I have heard the music is always very good – which was the case when we worshiped with them.
As I was checking out their website, one thing I was particularly drawn to was their Center for Subversive Theology. I really resonated with their description of theology and the purpose of it:
2. Why Subversive?
Any theology worthy of its name is by necessity subversive. For me in this context, it suggests several things: to lift up voices that often are not listened to, to be turned inside out by a different way of thinking, to gather with people who hold very different opinions and do so in a constructive way, and to allow oneself the possibility of transformation. And I hope that it will be a place for serious thinking and discussion. Serious thinking may force a person to be disturbed. And that may be why it is something our culture seems to avoid at all costs. We also plan to pay attention to those new voices that encourage social dissent: artists’ voices, poets’ voices. The church’s voice isn’t the only one that needs to be heard. At times we may argue that the church has to change, that the church has to be converted and transformed.
3. Okay, let’s define the rest of our terms: Theology:
In its broadest sense, I understand theology to be thinking and talking about God and self. Anytime we’re thinking of the knowledge of self and the knowledge of God and their interrelationship, we’re doing theology. So as it applies to this project, the center is the place where people come together to talk about God, themselves and the world.
Anyway – I know it’s someplace I will want to go back and check out again. And if you’re in the Philadelphia area, they are inviting any and all to come to their No Barriers Dinner this Wednesday (tonight). Just bring the below coupon with you and you’ll receive a free dinner and time to fellowship with BSM folk as well as anyone from the city who is stopping by and wants a free meal.