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The goal of this project is to theologically confront the Church’s consumerism which has created a spiritual exile for itself, an exile which has helped contribute to the slow death of the American mainline church. As churches die and try to invest in a legacy which carries their reputations forward, they go through a discernment process as to the content of that legacy. One model for churches to consider is an investment in urban ministry. Being confronted by the needs of an urban population, namely, the homeless, not only forces a church to confront its own consumerism, but it also is of benefit to the local community.
As First Presbyterian Church of San José (First Church) closed in 2019, a motion was made to the Presbytery of San José to invest the proceeds from the sale of their church property in a base of urban ministry to carry on the legacy of the church. An Administrative Commission was appointed to do the work of that motion. This project is a summary of that work done on behalf of the Presbytery.
An analysis of the project also demanded an interpretation of the history of the San Francisco Bay Area dating back to the colonization of the California coast by the Spanish in the eighteenth century. The Gold Rush of 1849 also had a significant impact on the diversity and development of the area and led to the planting of First Church. Issues relating to the doctrine of discovery and American exceptionalism apply. This thesis concludes that issues of land and exile from the prophetic books in the Old Testament have applications for the church today as it makes decisions around land relative to its own exile.
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Legacy, Model, Mainline churches, Church closures, Isaiah, Leviticus, Colonialism, Land, Catholic Missions, Urban Ministry, First Presbyterian Church of San José, San Francisco Bay Area
Practical Theology | Urban Studies and Planning
Material is subject to copyright.
Bales, Jennifer, "Land and Deliverance: Urban Ministry as a Church Legacy Model" (2020). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 421.
Available for download on Sunday, May 28, 2023