The Community of Celebration and Its Renewal Ministry

A brightly colored bus turned the corner into a narrow one-way street in a congested residential area of Washington D.C. A swarm of neighborhood children just out of school flocked around; an old woman across the street phoned the police as the bus backed into a parking area in front of her house. The Fisherfolk had arrived -- a traveling ministry of the Community of Celebration in Colorado, a renewal community committed to spreading a vision of the corporate renewal of the structures and ministries of the church. Those of us in the Sojourners community had invited them to be with us for a few days early last April. The Fisherfolk use the media of music, dance, and drama to carry the vision of church renewal. Though most of the ten-person team do not have p rofessional experience, they have developed a very polished musical style. Someone only superficially acquainted with their purposes might see them only as a performing group whose sole interest was in the creation of new forms of worship. Their commitment to the renewal of the church, however, distinguishes them from other traveling musical teams. Also, they are internally structured as a “mini-church” sent out to reflect the life of the Community of Celebration from which they come, ministering the fullness of Christ’s life through the relationships they have among themselves. One team member expressed it, “We minister primarily not through what we do, but through who we are.”

Another person on the team went on to say: “People have been going to church for a long time, and what we need now is to be the church. Worship is a means to express that life to God together ... We strive to make our music and drama a genuine expression of ourselves. That way people can enter into it and it’s not just entering into a drama or dance; it’s entering into us. Because it comes out of who we are; it comes up out of our community life.”

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