Story Communion: A Guidebook for Creating Sacred Space to Foster Kinship Amid Diversity in Christian Communities
Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Donna Wallace, DMin
Ekaputra Tupamahu, PhD
Ken Van Vliet, DMin
Christian communities are deeply divided theologically, socioeconomically, ethnically, and politically; thus, the popularity of the saying: “The most segregated time in America is on Sunday mornings.” Though there is wide consensus that this is problematic due to God’s clear desire for kinship among God’s people, most Christians are unsure what to do about this problem. This project aims to remove common barriers to diverse Christian communion by offering an affordable, easily repeatable, portable model for transformational connection across diverse Christian communities. Utilizing a blended methodology that draws upon bibliographic resources, data derived from stakeholder collaboration, and human-centered design and iteration processes, this project is heuristic-based and application-oriented. Barriers to Christian communion amid diversity discussed in this project are lack of opportunity for connection, personal bias, misunderstanding, perceived absence of commonality, lack of psychological safety, and inability to listen well to the stories of others. This project presents a model, called Story Communion©, which removes the barriers for diverse Christian groups by leveraging sacred space for powerful storytelling, deep listening, transformative dialogue, and meaningful feasting. Through research-based elements such as pre-gathering listening workshops, storyteller training, culinary diplomacy, spiritual formation practices, and exclusive participation, Story Communion© offers a unique and effective method for developing Christian kinship. Data collected from stakeholders and research participants indicates that Story Communion© is effective at fostering connection, reducing bias, developing storytelling and deep listening skills, and invoking a sense of curiosity about the presence and activity of God in the lives of diverse others. The Story Communion© guidebook provides Christian communities a research-and-outcome based, practical, and simple method for reaching across perceived divides for the sake of kinship in the Body of Christ.
Jones, Amber Hogan, "Story Communion: A Guidebook for Creating Sacred Space to Foster Kinship Amid Diversity in Christian Communities" (2023). Doctor of Ministry. 580.