Sacred Tapestry celebrates success as non-traditional church
By DIANA SCHWARTZ and TERESA ANGLE-YOUNG
Every Sunday is a big day at Sacred Tapestry in East Cobb, but February 27, 2011, was an especially important day as the community of faith and fellowship gathered to constitute as a United Methodist Church.
Sacred Tapestry has been operating for three years under the auspices of New Church Development as a church plant. The Constituting Service brought the congregation together to officially organize and elect lay leadership. The Rev. Dr. Jim Lowry read a Declaration of Purpose, and 165 congregants, lead by Rev. Teresa Angle-Young, took part in the celebration to name the church and vote on a slate of officers for their Leadership Team.
According to Dr. Lowry, “The Lord has given Teresa a passion for unchurched and dechurched people and a vision of how to uniquely and wonderfully reach out to them in Christ’s love. I am so pleased at what is happening at Sacred Tapestry.”
Tommy Willingham, Director of New Church Development, told the congregation:“I will be in Portland this week speaking to the National Networkers group made up of church development directors from around the nation, and I know the first question many of them will have is, ‘How are things going with Sacred Tapestry?’ Because they are all watching and learning from you how they might reach people in their own conference with new, creative methods to share the age-old Gospel of Christ with others.”
Being on the cutting edge of tending to the faithful, the Rev. Angle-Young is often called upon to speak, teach, and mentor other churches wishing to reach people outside the usual parameters of the institutional church. Sacred Tapestry’s gathering and worship space is open and looks more like a restaurant than a traditional sanctuary.
Worshippers gather for a complimentary buffet and freshly brewed coffee served by the master baristas from the Divine Bean Cafe. Then they find a table and comfortable chair, and are able to enjoy the worship service along with brunch. It is a welcoming and non-pressured atmosphere, specifically and carefully designed to foster comfort for those who have long stood outside the walls of the church. Nancy Kuhn, who came to Sacred Tapestry about two years ago, said, “I am here for the non-traditional setting and to learn from a message that is useful in everyday life.”
The Rev. Angle-Young’s message each week is based on scripture from the Revised Common Lectionary and comes from her heart and from her calling, but the atmosphere at Sacred Tapestry comes from filling the needs of a 21st century congregation. The casually dressed faithful enjoy music, food, fellowship, and weekly celebration of Holy Communion, and according to Michael and Lea Ferguson, is a place where we “can easily meet and know fellow worshippers and find our spot to grow not only spiritually, but agriculturally.” Plots in the chemical-free community garden at the rear of the facility are available, along with expert advice from Rev. Angle-Young and her husband Phil Young, both avid gardeners.
Gardening was the theme of this special Sunday, as the Rev. Angle-Young compared faith and worship to the garden at the church: “Faith, like plants, cannot stagnate and become root bound, because that hampers growth.”
For information on Sacred Tapestry, visit www.sacredtapestry.com
or come by around 10:45 a.m. on Sundays to 3000 Johnson Ferry Rd. And if you want, bring your dog.