EvoFaith turned one year old yesterday! And what a year it has been!
It is now over a decade since I first started believing that there was a need for a different way to do religious organisations. I was a clergyman in a mainstream denomination and I was doing everything I could to keep abreast of the trends and developments in how to serve and lead churches. But in spite of everything that was being written, in spite of all the conferences led by pastors of megachurches, the Church as a whole continued to lose members. And I realised that I was reading and hearing a lot about the Church changing, but I wasn’t actually seeing any substantial change happening.
That’s when the questions began.
DREAMING OF DIFFERENCE
I wondered how we could reach people who were unable to worship on Sundays. I explored how we could create a safe space for people to ask the questions they weren’t asking. I dreamed of a space where we could discuss sexuality in all its diversity and creativity without it collapsing into judgement and rejection for those who didn’t fit the monogamous, heterosexual norm. I tried to imagine a community that was open, welcoming, self-organising, and free of the restrictions of space and time.
For ten years I read, researched, dreamed, and imagined. Until finally, in 2019, I began to see a possibility. I tried to find ways to bring a new kind of community into being within the church, but there was no interest. But I also knew that my journey in the ordained ministry was coming to an end. And so in October 2019 I parted ways with my denomination and stepped out of formal ministry. And EvoFaith began to take shape.
Advent Sunday, 1 December 2019, was the date I set for the birth. It felt significant for me, and like a proud father, I announced it to whoever was willing to listen. But little did I know in those first few weeks that EvoFaith would start its journey in a time when the entire religious and spiritual landscape would be transformed by a global pandemic. I knew I would be starting an online community, but I did not know that almost every church in the world would be moving online.
Yet, as I look back, I can’t think of a more appropriate environment for such an experiment to come into being. It’s been a crazy year. And EvoFaith was designed for just such a time as this!
EvoFaith started life as a blog. I knew that the journey I was beginning would be about the union of science and spirituality. The name, EvoFaith, was an embodiment of that goal. It was to be an evolving spiritual conversation, but also a conversation about evolution—the evolution of the universe, life, humanity, sexuality, and even spirituality. But it was not about a denial of faith. On the contrary, it was about how faith can be deepened, expanded, nurtured, and enlivened by the insights of the sciences. And in the last year, with over fifty posts now on the blog, EvoFaith has explored many different ways that science and spirituality inform each other. It has offered suggestions for spiritual practices that include scientific thinking and insights. And it has challenged traditional, theistic views of God with suggestions for different ways of thinking about the Divine.
THE EVOFAITH TRIBE
But EvoFaith was never intended to be a blog alone. And so, on Ash Wednesday in February 2020, just a few weeks before South Africa and many other parts of the world went into lockdown, the EvoFaith Tribe was launched. Weekly, on-demand, interactive spiritual practice videos offered a focus for our shared spiritual journey—before most churches had considered doing worship online. Zoom meet-ups were scheduled (irregularly at first)—before Zoom became the main way of meeting online during social distancing. And we began, tentatively at first, to get to know one another and chat together from all the different places in the world where we are situated.
Now the Tribe has about 70 members, and we are beginning to get the first glimpses of what an online community can really be. And we’d love you to join us if this sounds like an experience you’d like to share. Just go to EvoFaithTribe.com and send a request to be admitted.
As I reflect on the last year of EvoFaith, I want to thank you all for your attention, your readership of this blog, your comments, your connections on social media, and your encouragement of this experiment. It’s been a wonderfully creative and exciting journey, and I am so grateful to have had the chance to do this work.
In the year ahead, I will be adding a store to the website where courses and books will be available. The various spiritual practice video series that Tribe members have been enjoying will also be available to purchase for anyone who wants to explore a different way of doing spiritual practice and worship.
I will shortly be launching a Patreon to support the Tribe. This is partly because I have made the decision not to charge for membership in the Tribe. Anyone who wants to join a new kind of spiritual community is welcome to join us, free of charge.
And finally, the New Year will hopefully see the launch of regular YouTube videos on the EvoFaith channel to explore evolutionary spirituality in short, bite-sized portions. This will also, hopefully, spread the word about EvoFaith to more people who need a community like this.
WHAT IS EVOFAITH TO YOU?
I am so grateful to everyone who has interacted with EvoFaith in any way. I read and try to reply to every comment on the site. And I do my best to stay engaged on social media. I love that the conversation about doing faith differently is growing and bringing more voices and ideas into the mix. Let’s keep it going!
- What has EvoFaith meant to you in the last year?
- What have you enjoyed about this site?
- What would you like to see here in the future?
I’d love to get your input so that EvoFaith can become even more helpful in 2021. Just leave your thoughts in the comments. Over to you!
Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, or follow us on social media so you don’t miss out on any of the new happenings here at EvoFaith.
IF YOU’D LIKE TO JOIN THIS NEW EVOLUTION OF SPIRITUAL COMMUNITY, HEAD ACROSS TO THE EVOFAITH TRIBE AND SEND A US REQUEST
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