Submitted by Reconciliation Ministry
Across our denomination, there are congregations meeting weekly, spreading the Gospel and doing mission in their communities, but how many of these congregations know each other? God created us to live in relationship and community. We can’t deny it – we need each other, and we need relationships. We cannot be the Church by continuing to do mission in the same ways, and with the same people, as before.
To help meet this need for intentional community, Reconciliation Ministry launched our “One Bag of Tea, One Conversation, One Relationship” initiative at the 2017 General Assembly. This campaign is rooted in our oneness in Christ. As we endeavor to work for racial and social justice, and to ensure radical welcome for all, we know that we can only accomplish these goals if we know each other better, if we create links within our church by breaking down the walls that divide us.
Together, we can start changing the narrative of this world by having personal, deepening, honest, supportive, and faith-building relationships. We must be intentional about developing such relationships, and it can all start by sharing a cup of tea with someone you would like to get to know better.
Since launching this initiative, several congregations have participated in One Bag of Tea, sparking numerous conversations. Participants are encouraged to ask each other the questions printed on our customized bags of tea, which include:
- What motivates you in life?
- What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the Church?
- What can we do about it?
These questions don’t just break the ice – they go far beneath the surface to help individuals and groups feel more comfortable discussing current issues in society related to racism, creating awareness of the role that the Church can play in the changing of the narrative. Sometimes it’s hard for congregations to start addressing racism without having built first a relationship.
These conversations spark meaningful relationships, and encourage participants to build even more relationships. Participant congregations have re-ordered tea, created their own questions to use, and have invited other congregations and community groups to join in the conversation.
We invite you to join the movement towards wholeness, and embark with us on the journey of breaking down the walls that separate us by strengthening the bonds that make us one. In the aftermath of the recent surge in hate rhetoric and exclusivist policies, several congregations have already begun to change the world, one cup of tea and one conversation at a time. These churches are being intentional in developing and fostering new and stronger relationships within the body of Christ.
Will you be part of this movement of new, stronger and prophetic relationships with each other? For more details on this initiative, visit Reconciliation Ministry’s website.