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Greater New Jersey Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

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Project Name: Bridges Project

The Bridges Project is designed as a three-stage process to help churches practice deep empathy with their communities, rediscover their core values and mission, and creatively explore our ancient Christian practices as a result of these findings. It is the conference's belief that this process of noticing, mission, and Christian practice will help congregations thrive by tethering them to their calling in a way that makes intercultural competency, and scores of other healthy traits, naturally occurring byproducts of faithful congregational life. This project oversees three 18-month cohort experiences involving 75 vital congregations located in culturally and socially shifting areas. Participating congregations exhibit congregational demographics that have begun to diverge from the demographics of their surrounding communities. The project design is highly experiential and exposes congregational cohorts to the beauty and disorientation of difference, as the conference curates noteworthy experiences rooted in relationship, joy, site visits, storytelling, art, and reflection. As a result, participating congregations emerge from this program with a clearer understanding of their own social location, the skills to practice deep empathy (even amidst difference), a deeper theological understanding for the role of diversity in the Imago Dei, a clarified sense of their particular Christian values and mission, a renewed and localized engagement in meaningful spiritual practices (particularly testimony), and greater delight in both God and others.

Location: Neptune, NJ
geographic scope: Regional
Contact Information
Contact: Trey Wince