Our journey began in the summer of 2011 with a small group of friends who began gathering in backyards on Sunday nights to pray and dream together. Over beer and BBQ we explored what it could look like for a new faith community - one centered around the life and teachings of Jesus - to emerge within the Fountain District of Bellingham, WA. One that was rhythmic - centered around a cadence or way of life together. We wanted a community that was also rooted in a sense of place. Most of us live within a mile of each other in the Fountain District and were longing to do life together more consistently.
In addition to being rhythmic and rooted, we also dreamed of becoming a creative community who would find new ways of learning together. We didn't know it at the time, but this would send us into some wild new adventures together! More on that in a moment. We also wanted to do all this in a lively way! To really enjoy life and friendships. To take some risks. To explore.
And we have.
Thus our Rhythmic, Rooted, Creative and Lively community of Fountain Parish was born.
Our first creative learning sunday happened on the 10th anniversary of September 11. A bunch of us at Fountain Parish learned to cook kosher food and hosted the local muslim community on this important date for a time of remembering and celebrating what our two faiths have in common together. We shared food and prayers and blessings over each other's communities. We sat at tables together and made new friends. We modeled something. Peace through friendship. We couldn't think of a better way to reach out to an often marginalized group. And before the night was over there was scarcely a dry eye in the place as one of the children of Fountain Parish read a poetic prayer she had written for our new muslim friends and an elderly muslim woman responded with gratitude through tears.
And this was just the beginning of our creative learning sundays! We have explored cooking, dancing and exercising. We explored Biblical nature metaphors in a park. For Oktoberfest we celebrated the spirituality of beer making. We have even had a huge map you can see above! Kelli, our children's pastor, made a massive map of the Fountain District and our children made paper houses representing where they live to place on it. All of our creative learning environments are designed for whole families to participate in together. The kids love them as much (and probably more than adults when it came to the dancing) as the adults! This is important because we have almost as many children as we do adults! We want our kids to flourish.
But in addition to being creative and lively, we are becoming rhythmic and rooted. Many Sunday nights we gather for meals, worship and teaching together. Food is a big part of our get togethers! Something happens when we share a meal together. We let down. We become more ourselves and in turn more open to each other. And that's really what it's about isn't it?
So, come dream with us! Come explore what a Rhythmic, Rooted, Creative and Lively community could be like.
It wouldn't be a true telling of Our Story without mentioning how we were cared for and nurtured by the care of Mosaic Church, where Sean Hall (pastor of Fountain Parish) was a co founder and pastor for several years. Fountain Parish was blessed to become a daughter church of this wonderful community with whom we share much in the way of heart and passion. And as we set out on our journey we were also blessed to find travel companions with mentors in the Christian Reformed Church who believed in us from the beginning. Without the partnership of Mosaic and the CRC, Fountain Parish would still just be a dream.