Upcoming Events

Context is Everything: Offering the Local Church to God’s Beloved

February 21, 2020 @ 1:00 pm – February 22, 2020 @ 5:00 pm
Union Theological Seminary
3041 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
Lisa Simon

Date: Friday, February 21, 1:00 – 6:00 pm; Saturday, February 22, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Instructor: Anna Olson
RSVP: https://myunion.utsnyc.edu/context-is-everything

How does a struggling local church invite its community to cast a vision for its future? What happens when the neighbors are handed the keys to the church and the freedom to bring their dreams of community thriving inside? It’s sometimes a mess, often quite a bit of fun and never ever boring. As traditional models of church crumble rapidly and formulas for 21st century church serve ever narrowing swaths of privileged communities, the rest of us are entering a period of uncertainty and possibility. UTS alumna Anna Olson shares two decades of practical, highly contextual parish ministry in diverse, marginal, urban communities. In her book, Claiming Resurrection in the Dying Church: Freedom Beyond Survival, she describes casting aside the death-dealing conventional wisdom of church growth programs and denominational measures of viability and throwing the doors wide open on the assumption that God is already at work in the community making all things new. Students are invited to read Claiming Resurrection and come prepared with knowledge of and reflection on a specific ministry context and its challenges (home church, field education site, current call, specific neighborhood, etc). Together we will unpack context, ask good questions and imagine concrete steps towards a church that offers itself to God and God’s beloved.

About the Instructor

The Reverend Anna Olson was ordained in 2000, and has served her entire ministry in the Diocese of Los Angeles — at churches in Long Beach, East Hollywood and Inglewood, and in a faith-rooted social justice nonprofit. She has been with St. Mary’s since 2011. She is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary and Stanford University. She started her working life as a union organizer, and still uses much of what she learned about bringing people together to work towards worthwhile goals. She speaks English and Español, and is working on Korean. She is a volunteer chaplain at Century Regional Detention Facility, LA County’s main jail for women.

She has lived with her family in Koreatown since 2002. She believes that Koreatown needs a church where there is room for everyone, and where diverse communities can find common ground to practice the gospel work of love and forgiveness. Her passions in ministry include bringing Biblical stories alive through preaching; public and outdoor liturgy; using music, dance and art to create a more inclusive church; and opening space for authentic multicultural and multilingual community.