|Congregation Description:||To be a part of River of Life is to be cross-cultural. Our congregation is a 9 year old consolidation of what were, in their time, two of the flagship churches of north Minneapolis. One of the congregations had a population of Liberian members at consolidation, which has expanded into the majority of our population as River of Life. Elderly members of Scandinavian descent, multi-generational and multi-racial families and Liberian families have made an intentional choice to be one. They have resisted all suggestions to have separate worship services, and our current worship is a blend of traditions and musical styles with some unique elements. Our children and youth are navigating at least two different cultures all the time: their urban context in north Minneapolis or nearby first ring suburbs, and the culture of their heritage. |
Worship is central to our life together, and is a time for music, sharing what is going on in our lives, teaching, preaching and sacred rites. We have one worship service on Sunday at 10 am, which may last an hour and 15-20 minutes. The liturgy is recognizable as a North American traditional liturgy, with spontaneous prayer and praise elements that are more from African-American and African traditions mixed in. We also attempt to balance less formal elements with higher church elements on festival days. Children are an integral part of the congregational life. Sunday School happens in one group during the sermon time; children practice singing, drumming, reinforce the Gospel story for the day, learn about the Church, and bond with each other. In the 2012-2013 school year we are following the narrative lectionary.
Confirmation is held collaboratively with Christ English Lutheran Church and Salem Lutheran Church, on the 2nd Sunday of the month; the curriculum is a field-trip based model: one year of Bible and one of catechism.
Finally, we have outreach opportunities through organizations that share our space: Youth Enterprises, which teaches urban youth to make t-shirts and Loaves and Fishes, which serves a meal from our kitchen every weeknight. We are strengthening these partnerships all the time.