Title

Re-encountering the Apostles' Creed in an emerging church context.

Date of Award

5-1-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

School

Drew Theological School

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

Abstract

For a variety of reasons, many churches in our cultural moment do not include creeds in their corporate worship. Some associate creeds with the disastrous hubris and overreach of the Modernist church as it attempted to nail down, and be the arbiter of, what is true. Others see them as simply boring and irrelevant relics of a bygone era and style. Yet in their right place, creeds have an important role to play today, framing the story of faith, and declaring the central core of what the local worshipping community holds in common with the church across the ages. Just as the lyrics of a song can seem lifeless without the music, so too, creeds can seem lifeless when extracted out of the life of faith. In 2005 I led a team to design a new emerging church worship service for the First Presbyterian Church of Ambler which was called SouthRidge. As the service flourished and the liturgy began to settle into a familiar pattern, I noticed that the service was consistently devoid of creeds. There was a sense that something was missing, yet many in our new, young congregation had a distaste and distrust of prescribed corporate readings said by rote. We wondered if there were new ways of experiencing the Apostles Creed that might make it more accessible to a new generation. In 2013 I led a team from our church to explore new ways of experiencing the Apostles' Creed. We developed eight different encounters with the Creed for both corporate worship and on-line resources. In particular, we found the encounter we called a "Creedal Testimony" to be a highly helpful way to experience the Apostles' Creed. This paper examines the history of the Apostles' Creed, the development and use of the eight encounters we created, and evaluates the impact these encounters had on our local community. The paper concludes with some tentative suggestions as to which of these encounters may be most helpful to other faith communities.