Pastoral Statement from The Possibility Project:

As of June 2017, we (Sophie & Jared) serve on the pastoral staff of The Possibility Project. As pastors, we understand we have a responsibility to shepherd and guide our community in conversation and action, particularly during troubling social and cultural moments. In response to the events at Charlottesville and the ongoing presence of white supremacy in our country, we offered this pastoral statement, which was originally shared on our Facebook page. 

As a church under the umbrella of the Church of the Nazarene, The Possibility Project affirms our new denominational statement which speaks against discrimination of all forms:

“Therefore, we renounce any form of racial and ethnic indifference, exclusion, subjugation, or oppression as a grave sin against God and our fellow human beings. We lament the legacy of every form of racism throughout the world, and we seek to confront that legacy through repentance, reconciliation, and biblical justice. We seek to repent of every behavior in which we have been overtly or covertly complicit with the sin of racism, both past and present; and in confession and lament we seek forgiveness and reconciliation. Further, we acknowledge that there is no reconciliation apart from human struggle to stand against and to overcome all personal, institutional and structural prejudice responsible for racial and ethnic humiliation and oppression. We call upon Nazarenes everywhere to identify and seek to remove acts and structures of prejudice, to facilitate occasions for seeking forgiveness and reconciliation, and to take action toward empowering those who have been marginalized.

As followers of Christ and pastors of this local church community, this is our effort to put the new manual statement into practice within our particular context, as we “Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14).

We renounce...

Our community firmly rejects the racism, anti-semitism, bigotry, and white supremacy on display in Charlottesville as antithetical to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, we recognize that this is not an isolated incident and that we must continually call out both specific instances and harmful structures.

We lament...

Our community grieves the violence in Charlottesville and the deaths of three people. We lament the pervasiveness of racism, anti-semitism, bigotry, and white supremacy in our church and culture and the failure of our church to more boldly speak and act against it. We cry out to God, knowing that God is grieved and holds our grief.

We repent...

Our community repents of our complicity in racism, anti-semitism, bigotry, and white supremacy. We recognize that, in varying degrees, we are tied to a racialized history and benefit from systems that prioritize whiteness and oppress people of different race, color, gender, and creed. We admit that we carry bias and prejudice in our hearts and thoughts. As we become more aware, we continually repent of our sin and change our attitudes and behaviors accordingly.

We identify and seek to remove acts and structures of prejudice...

We commit to evaluating our community’s beliefs and practices in order to resist racism and privilege.

We facilitate occasions for seeking forgiveness and reconciliation...

We commit to a posture of humility, asking for forgiveness in public and private forums from those we’ve hurt and moving toward reconciliation in partnership.

We take action toward empowering those who have been marginalized...

We commit to the following actions:

  1. Being in prayer so we may always be led by the Spirit of Life.

  2. Proclaiming in word and deed the gospel of love, peace, life, and justice over and against the anti-gospel of hatred, violence, oppression, and division.

  3. Participating in anti-racism training and educating ourselves on systemic injustice, while learning from and elevating voices on the margins.

  4. Collecting and creating racial justice resources to share with our church, district, and global church.

  5. Financially supporting racial justice efforts led by those who have typically been disempowered.

What's Next? Back, back to Cali!

In the words of Biggie, we’re going, going, back, back to Cali!*

*We still don’t call it Cali though. 

After a three year hiatus in the Peach State, we are excited to announce that we will be serving in ministry in the Bay Area.

We have accepted positions to pastor with an intentional living community/residential internship program called The Possibility Project. We will also coordinate compassionate ministry and youth ministry leadership on the Northern California district of the Church of the Nazarene. Our move is prompted by Sophie's graduation from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology with her Masters of Divinity.

Our first visit to the NorCal district ignited a spark that surprised both of us, prompting us to wonder if we could move there. After speaking at NorCal district camps and retreats, our connections with this community deepened. Jared has been working on a collaborative book project with the interns. This past summer, we realized that working with an intentional living community could combine our passions for spiritual formation and mentorship, hospitality, community life, social justice, and creativity. We began some conversations with Jeff Purganan about the needs of the district and the opportunities to serve together. 

Under Jeff’s creative leadership, the Sunnyvale Church of the Nazarene re-organized and launched a new ministry. The Possibility Project is a two year leadership development program designed for Christians who desire to live and work in the Bay Area. Participants share in life together, preach and serve in local churches, and develop their own ministry projects. 

FAQ:

You both have jobs?
Yes! Together! Sophie is hired full time and Jared will work half time, while he continues to create films, write, and speak. 

What is an intentional living community?
Quite simply, a group of people who choose to share life together based on similar values. It looks different for every intentional community. The Possibility Project is a more loosely structured intentional community, a.k.a we’re not sharing our incomes (as some of you have asked), but we will share life together and support each other’s growth through intentional communal rhythms, like regular meals and book studies. 

Will you live with other people?
We will live in our own house, but we will live near the two community houses and Crossroads Church in Palo Alto.

Can I join the community?
Yes! We might have more applicants than beds this year, but part of our role will be facilitating the expansion of the program. It is typically a two year commitment, beginning in August. Check out the website here or email to let us know you’re interested so we can have a conversation. 

When will you start?
Sophie graduates on May 8, and after moving, we'll begin working in mid-June. 

Is this where you're from?
Jared grew up in Lodi, CA which is in Northern California but about two hours from where we will be living. Before moving to Georgia, we both lived in San Diego, CA. We're excited to be in California again, but living in the Bay Area will be a completely new experience for us.

Are you going to miss Atlanta?
Of course! We’ve really enjoyed our three years here. We imagine we’ll be back for some BBQ and biscuits, to visit our friends and maintain our connections with the Atlanta Film Society, where Jared is still serving as a filmmaker-in-residence.

Are you going to be a nun/priest?
Okay, you’re probably not wondering that but Sophie gets that question A LOT when she tells people what she is studying.