This update is very difficult to write. It has been a very challenging season in the life of The Abbey.
On March 26th, after a month of trying to solve some time-sensitive and pressing problems related to our Sunday gathering space, and after many months of asking questions about long-term sustainability, we announced that we have decided to not relaunch our Sunday gathering in a new space.
[There is a link below where you can read more about how we got here].
In the next two months, we will be bringing the current form of The Abbey to a close while remaining hopeful that something in the future could emerge.
In short— we are not giving up on the work of bringing together the contemplative, charismatic, and sacramental expressions of the local church.
I am more convinced now than I ever have been that we have been tilling soil these last seven years for a new way of imagining what can be at the center of community, formation, and mission in the way of Jesus. We’ve spent the last seven years experimenting with new rhythms of gathering, practices of formation, and models of leadership. I believe that one of the primary ways we learn is through mistakes and ongoing work of iteration. We have made a ton of mistakes along the way and we’ve continued to experiment and iterate. Many of us are different people as a result of the work of The Abbey. And I don’t believe anything will be wasted.
And yet, it has become clear that our present efforts to do this work are not sustainable. As difficult as this season has been, we have made decisions (as best as we could) in ways aligned with our core values as a community and our personal integrity as leaders. We have always been a community primarily oriented toward noticing and nurturing the work of God. What is God doing among us and how might we best respond to what God is doing? Embedded in our communal values and our personal values as leaders have always been a commitment to not make people expendable on our way towards building an institution. The decision to not relaunch our Sunday gathering has primarily centered on the belief that God gives us limits and that whatever God is asking of us must take those limits into account.
Because we do not know what form or shape the future will take, nor can we anticipate what timeline future possibilities might develop, we have felt it best to lead our community into a season of harvesting both the losses and the graces of The Abbey community as we presently know it. It seems good for us to do this work while we are together while remaining hopeful for what God might do in the future with the way of life that we have tried to steward.
I know that there are a lot of questions. I know that so many of us are working through various stages of grief (shock, anger, feelings of betrayal, bargaining, sadness, etc). All of it belongs and we want to be present in all of it.
We have created a landing page to help orient you to our present thinking on some of the questions that you might be holding as well as our thinking as things unfolded on the way towards this decision.
We will follow up in the weeks to come with more specifics about how we plan on caring for one another through this process and give you details as soon as we have them for a celebration service towards the end of May or early June.
We are very much in love with Jesus and we believe that the local church is God’s plan for the restoration of all things.
The button below will take you to a page with an effort to answer some questions you might be holding.
Jared Boyd (Pastor)
Hannah Estabrook (Pastor)