Wednesday, October 31, 2007

About Jeff Street

Jeff Street collage
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Jeff Street is home for us. Community. Sanctuary.

Jeff Street is a safe place where we know we will be loved, welcomed and encouraged.

At the same time, Jeff Street is a risky place, where we are challenged to begin building the Kingdom. Jesus did that and they killed him, so we try to keep our eyes open and our minds clear.

Still, we are a happy community of love-sowers, peacemakers and troublemakers. We are singers and songwriters, artists and poets, teachers and social workers and students and homeless and silly persons. Most of all, we are family for one another. And that is no small thing.

We welcome you to our page and hope you find a bit of family here.

We are nominally Baptists but rejected by the Southern Baptists. We’ve been called the Church of the Last Resort by those ready to leave the established church altogether. We’re a rowdy and fun-loving collection of (often recovering) Baptists, Catholics, Presbyterians, Anabaptists, Quakers and probably not a few Others.

We are a Peace Church. We’re an Open and Affirming Church. We have had the privilege, since 1988, of having perhaps the greatest preacher – Pastor Cindy – in Louisville, in Kentucky (so far as we can tell) and quite likely, in all of these United States of America.

We’re urban and gritty in our location and commitments but rural and free in spirit. We were formed by a reformed riverboat gambler and murderer in the 1880s as a mission with and to the outcasts of society and have remained much the same through our history.

We are (or have been) the home of the Urban Goatwalker, the Grueling Toadsuckers (aka the Sabbath Economics group), the Jeff Street Left-leaning Men’s Ballet Club (aka, the Men in Tights), the Endangered Animals Club, Firedoor Man, Captain Mellow, Cindy the Hoer, Father Roberto, the Reclaiming Christmas Project, the Women’s Spirituality Group, storytellers, singers, cyclists, salty saints, poets, prophets, priests, rabble rousers and troublemakers of all shapes and sizes.

That is who we are in a very big nutshell (and perhaps in these pages, you’ll discover some of what’s behind each of those names and groups).

Jeff Street is, most of all, a place where we love each other. We’re not always in agreement on every topic (we retain too many Baptists to be that), but we get along famously just the same. We have fun together. We mourn together. We do great stuff together. For instance:

Each fall, we have a church retreat where we play games, pray, sing and have silly skits together.

Each spring, we have an Earth Day service where we thank God for this blessed creation and challenge one another to be true stewards thereof.

Each Christmas, we celebrate the Reclaiming Christmas Project, in which we encourage one another and family to not give to us – because we have so much already – but rather give to a project to build a well in Nicaragua, or help teach shepherds in Morocco to read, or some similar project.

Each month we host the Urban Goatwalker, a coffeehouse for all, but especially for our homeless and mentally-challenged friends who don’t often get to be out at a restaurant enjoying coffee and snacks and listening to (and performing) live music and poetry.

Each Easter morning, we party like a buncha loons.

In addition to the regular holidays, we also like to celebrate Turn Off Your TV week, Buy Nothing Day, Bicycle Month and enjoy at least a few potlucks during the year. What other church would have Supertramp and Abba quoted in sermons? Or sing Yellow Submarine as an invitational? Or Blow Up Your TV as special music?

We regularly do stuff together in small groups – eating lunch or dinner, going to see a midnight showing of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, going to concerts or dances or having our own stringed hootenannies.

Every Sunday, you can expect to see bicyclists, wheelchair riders and walkers coming to church, in addition to those in autos. Every Sunday, you can expect to be moved by the music, challenged by the sermon, hugged and greeted by your friends. We are ever dared to promote peace, to oppose injustice, to love God’s good earth, to take the Bible seriously and ourselves less so, to love one another, to love our enemies and work on creative ways to subvert the destructive paradigms of our day and overcome evil with good.

Jeff Street is such a blessed place. A radical place. A place where ALL are welcomed and encouraged and truly nifty and subversive stuff takes place.

One of my favorite descriptors for Jeff Street came from a visitor who, upon observing the many children wandering around, playing with and being hugged by various adults, said, “I can’t tell which children belong to which adults – they seemed to be so loved by everyone.”

Lord, may that always be the case for us all.

Welcome to our community.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Great Jeff Street Costume Ball

Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Since the first Jeff Street dance back last spring was such a hit, Mike, Judah and others sponsored another one. It was a splendid evening of frivolity, food and fancy footwork.

Popeye and Olive

Popeye and Olive
Originally uploaded by paynehollow

Kate In Hat

Kate In Hat
Originally uploaded by paynehollow


Originally uploaded by paynehollow

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Award-Winning Art

Laura S Art
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Two Earth Days ago, we provided art material for folk to express themselves. Laura S did so and eventually entered her piece into an art show and one first place!

Yea, Laura!

As long as I live, I'll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I'll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm and the avalanche. I'll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens and get as near the heart of the world as I can.

~John Muir

Sunday, October 21, 2007

To the Jordan River...

Jordan Baptism
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
We had what was, for I think most of us, our first outdoors baptism today. Jordan's done got himself redeemed.

Well that's it, boys. I've been redeemed. The preacher's done warshed away all my sins and transgressions. It's the straight and narrow from here on out, and heaven everlasting's my reward.

The preacher says all my sins is warshed away... Neither God nor man's got nothin' on me now.

C'mon in boys, the water is fine.

I couldn't be prouder.

Down to the River to Pray

Group Hug 2
Originally uploaded by paynehollow

Monday, October 15, 2007

Angel Band

Another fun Goatwalker

Changed my mind...
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Another Urban Goatwalker has come and gone and everyone had a great time.

Well, almost everyone...

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Cindy Jesse
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
A Modest Wish
For Cindy

A modest wish on this, your birthday; a modest wish for you
May your children rise up, call you bless’d; May your skies be ever blue

May your chocolate be healthy, your coffee, fairly traded
May your conservatives be compassionate (and in real-life, not exaggerated)

May you dance to the finest folk songs and get a visit from Bruce Cockburn
May you tie down every injustice, and never get a rope burn

May you have the strength of Mother Teresa, the wisdom of Gandhi
And yet still rock out, like Boston, Aerosmith or Blondie

May your sermons be insightful as Buber, as prophetic as Wink
And yet, may you prepare them in, oh, about a minute, I think

May your politicians be honest, and the corrupt ones repent
For every crime committed (especially, this president)

May the hungry be fed, the captives freed, all lies, overcome by Truth
This, my dear sister, is our modest birthday wish for you.

Jesse Rocks

Jesse Rocks 4
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
I just like this shot - Jesse had a birthday this week and rocked out on Fourth Street Live with a kid band. They're good.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Strangers Expected

Bean Blossom Mennonite 2
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
I saw this sign at a church down the road from Nashville, Indiana and it got me to thinking that maybe we need one like this at Jeff Street. Except, maybe we should add a second line:

"Some, stranger than others..."