House for All Sinners and Saints

  • House for All Sinners and Saints
    I am the mission developer for House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. We are an urban liturgical community with a progressive yet deeply rooted theological imagination. Check out our site for more info.

Cafe Press store for HFASS merch

  • Buy House for All Sinners and Saints stuff!
    You can go to our Cafe Press store and buy t-shirts and other stuff with out Parchment with a nail at the top logo on the front - and "radical protestants; nailing sh*t to the church door since 1517" on the back.
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books and magazines i dig



  • Chris Enstad
    The blog of a dad, husband, Lutheran pastor, emerging, failing, conversing, confessing.
  • Ian Mobsby
    Ian is the Anglican Priest at Moot in London.
  • Matt Stone
    This is a great blog from Down Under which explores Christianity and religious pluralism
  • Luther Punk
    Like Ward Cleaver with tattoos
  • Ian Adams
    Ian is the priest of the MayBe community in Oxford...I think he's pretty stinkin' cool.
  • Rachael
    cool chick...check her out
  • MayBe
    This is a great emerging church community we spent time with in Oxford. Their website is well worth a look, especially the page "the spirit of MayBe"
  • Mad Priest
    If I'm the Sarcastic Lutheran, he's certainly the Sarcastic Anglican...
  • Steve Collins
    Steve's an interesting and articulate emerging church brit.
  • The Mercy Seat
    This is a really groovey new church plant in NorthEast Minneapolis, amazing jazz liturgy. Their website is well worth checking out

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I love it. I'm going to steal it.


Oh, and, I'll buy the shirt when you make it!


I *love* your phrase "culturally commute"... It's so true for so many people; having to shed their main expression of "self" to put on a different expression at church.

It's a kind of rough and ready definition, but maybe that's its strength. I like its pragmatism. So it's OK by me! Hopefully it's the kind of definition that provokes more exploratory questions.

so true ... resonates so much with my experience ... truly truly hate having to listen to pathetic variants on the theme of 'ooo we are doing alt worship' no you are not you sad puppy you are pretending to be something you are not try learning a little of the ethos understanding the community ... and if i may just add ... having been doing this twenty years i will go one further ... i hate the labels ... we started out as 'alt' ... we became 'post-evangelical' (ok kinda our fault but hey we didn't say name yourself after a book you muppet) ... we were then 'emergent' ... and now fresh (expletive) expressions ... here's the thing ... we never asked you to label us ... they are your labels not ours ... thanks for your help ... you can leave us alone now ... the door is the wooden thing in the wall ... use it :)

just in case i liked your piece ... a lot xx

I love how terribly not-English you are - no understatement or polite obfuscation.

My brother indeed.

See you in August,

Thanks for this. I was part of an emergent gathering that lit candles, and had multi-sensory worship experiences. But we also served our community together, ate together, traveled on mission together--We wanted to be the church more than we wanted to attract "the young people." True how so many Existing Church leaders think that "emergent" is synonymous with some sort of alt worship. Try Authenticity, that works better than candles and incense.

i echo the love for the phrase "culturally commute." tru dat.

good succinct post, and I appreciate the emphasis on cultural context. no "rash shit" here, sista. i mean, your definition was almost non-reductionistic. j/k

"These cultural contexts are more often than not urban, youngish and post-modern."

I think you should ditch this from your definition. Once you give such examples you imply they are the norm and you are in danger of limiting what should be the limitless opportunities of liberation theology. I have been applying emergent church philosophy to gatherings of elderly people, in non-church settings, for years and it is just as exciting and rewarding for all concerned.

As you say, you cannot do emergent church to people and the people, like yourself, who are called from out of a specific cultural context to initiate new expressions of church tend, at this moment in time, to be young(ish). I think this is the main reason why most of the new ecclesial communities are as you state. However, there are many older folk like myself, who were enthused by the South American experiments in the 70s and 80s, who need to be encouraged to apply emergent church methodology to their own cultural contexts. I would hate to see them put off by the movement being identified solely with young urbanites with tattoos.

Keep the faith, my sister and God bless your work.

Perhaps you are the "not" of the "more often than not"! This is just to define what I mean when I use the term.

And for the record, in a community of around 45 people, only a few of us have tattoos. Hate to disappoint but we are far from being a hipster church!

Nice to hear form you MP, it's been awhile!

I'll be speaking at Greenbelt this year but if memory serves that is not your "thing" as they say...still maybe we'll finally meet.

Isn't defining emergent somehow anti-emergent? I find the term itself problematic.

I agree with you and what you say here for the most part, but when I started a "post-modern" worship service in the burbs a few years ago, there was great diversity of people who attended, ranging from teens who just wanted a service that wasn't boring to a couple of people in their 60's who were just glad to see the church trying new things (and were happy to FUND us).

I will say that nothing drives me crazy quite as much as ripping off the latest Zondervan book on the subject. When we did it - and as I am planning to do it again at our mission - the service was a little more organic in its origins.

Nadia, you have a real gift for hitting the nail on the head. I'm a pastor in rural ND and I still have people saying, "we should start a contemporary worship so the young people will come." the really infuriating part of that is that when they say "we" they mean me, the pastor. Arrrggghhh.
On another subject, I loved your reading from your book. I laughed out loud so many times. I especially like your description, "a heavily tattooed Lutheran woman who swears like a truck-driver," because that also describes my wife. Peace to you.

I recently went to a continuing ed event where it was pointed out that the church is trying to minister to 5 generations, prior to this it was at most 3. Thinking about that and your definition (which I appreciate) leads me to this thought.

With 5 generations in the church does this mean that someone(s) need to "culturally commute" (a nice turn of phrase)in some way shape or form... or does it mean that we need to become culturally/generationally (although I know this is a hasty generalization) segregated as a church?

Speaking for the 50 plus contingent at HFASS, I'm with the MadPriest on this one. To me, emergent is a different way of seeing/being that may be mostly embraced by urban youth, but not sure "youth" or "urban" should define emergent...


I was trying to communicate just that - that EC is more often than not young and urban. This allows for exceptions while still being true to the demographic reality.

The thing to keep in mind is that this definition is merely descriptive. It's not meant to be prescriptive. My community and those I've encountered here and in the UK largely fit the description.

Perhaps I should call it an emerging church description, rather than a definition.

Also keep in mind that in describing I am in no way trying to imply that this is the ideal.

The truth is that HFASS is greatly enhanced by RD, our corporate lawyer in his 50's and by the baptist family who come in once a month from deep in the suburbs.

As I am about to experience an "emergent style" service that is being put together by the contemporary service at my local church tomorrow morning, your thoughts will be strongly on my mind.

That is a seriously awesome pic, by the way.

I'm caught by the question from Brian above who wonders if church communities will end up choosing between some cultural commuting and cultural segregation. In my own work I encounter a lot of elders who end up being forced to "culturally commute" or leave their communities due to changes. Perhaps there's a power dynamic--the generation or generations which holds the power in the organization gets to define mission and worship in ways that may exclude both the young and the old. So communities like HFASS may answer a need not by adopting one specific worship style but by creating space where those who've been disempowered elsewhere are the ones who make the decisions, and where the power dynamic in decision-making is carefully attended to. Love the pic.

That's pretty much the phrase I use "reach those for whom church is not in their vocabulary." I love a full blown evensong and find some traditional church services very moving especially during Holy Week. But I am also a prenatal Episcopalian, so I'm more likely than many to venture into a church. The challenge is how to be the church so it's much more than just a building.

I don't use the term emergent/emerging unless necessary since Andrew Jones said dump it. Sometimes when there's too much baggage involved, it's best not to keep having discussions but get on with doing the work whatever it's called. Sounds like the church plant is doing very well.

nice piece nadia - thanks...

"not your "thing""

Ah, you are wrong here, Nadia. I am a veteran. I attended the second ever Greenbelt back in the early 70s and wet every year until the madness set in 10 years ago. I'm afraid it's the phobias and panics that stop me going now. But I promise that if I win the Lottery between now and then and can afford to stay in a good hotel in Cheltenham who can cater for my quirks, I will most certainly be there just to meet you. But don't get your hopes up - I never gamble and so never enter the Lottery.

Love it. Love your blog. Brava!

I think you're spot on Nadia...and I say that as one who leads a community of mostly "not youngish" folks that gathers in the carriage house of one of our members...i.e. not urban and not hip. lol. David and I are the only ones who have piercings and tats. (as if that was some for of "hip" barometer or something)

And I'll toss my hat in for the phrase "cultural commute" as well. love it.

I see you meet in the Mercury Cafe.....The band I was in during college played in the Mercury Cafe..... my car was towed from the parking lot too that night as we went out after and when we came back the next day it was towed. That's why that place sticks out in my memory...

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