our Vineyard Anti-Slavery Team has been working for the last year on a resource website to empower and equip people to join the fight against modern-day slavery. well, we are ready to go, and VineyardUSA has launched Justice Response.

we are hoping this site has easy on ramps for people , as well as being easy to navigate with real resources that can empower and equip us to follow the Father and join the fight against modern-day slavery.

Below is the press release that Kathy Maskell of the Elm City Vineyard wrote:

Association of Vineyard Churches Launches Justice Response Website, Targets Human Trafficking
January 18, 2010— The Association of Vineyard Churches (www.vineyardusa.org) proudly announces the launch of “Justice Response,” a new website designed to equip pastors and lay leaders to address international and domestic human trafficking. Developed by the Vineyard Anti-Slavery Team (VAST), the website provides an approachable introduction to the complex dimensions of human trafficking, along with practical resources pastors can use to engage their congregations. The “Justice Response” website provides an overview of human trafficking, from child soldiers to sex slaves to bonded labor. Specific resources include sermon ideas, small group resources, guides to mapping hotspots for human trafficking in your community, and guides to fair-trade products. The site will be expanded in the future to include a variety of resources for worship leaders and Christian workers overseas.

Comprised of over 500 churches in the United States, and hundreds more worldwide, the Vineyard movement has a consistent history of challenging its members to care for the poor and the marginalized. In the wake of the growing movement among many Christian communities to reclaim a legacy of abolitionism, VAST aims to link the Vineyard into the existing stream of modern-day abolitionists and anti-slavery organizations. VAST member Cheryl Pittluck hopes that “future generations will be able look back and say that when the Christian Church saw the need, she rose to the cause in the fight to end Human Trafficking….That the Vineyard, and all of the other members of God’s family, took seriously the command to fight for justice on behalf of those who cannot fight for themselves. This website will hopefully be a valuable tool in arming and preparing our churches for that fight.”

Many Vineyard churches have already begun the work of uncovering human trafficking within their own cities. VAST member Steven Hamilton, assistant pastor at the Central Maryland Vineyard, encountered the issue of human trafficking when they discovered with horror that girls from the orphanages their church supported in Ukraine were being trafficked into the US. They began to understand that trafficking was not just an international phenomenon that happens ‘out there’ somewhere. The church is a founding member of the Maryland Human Trafficking Taskforce and provides awareness and local assistance to law enforcement with anti-trafficking raids. “My hope is that the vision and resources of Justice Response will empower and equip Vineyard churches to join what God is doing to fight against modern-day slavery all over the world and in our own backyards,” Hamilton shares.

Love146 U.S. Advocacy Director Kathy Maskell hails the website as a milestone in the anti-slavery movement. “Sharing resources and creating bridges between faith communities and activist communities is exactly the kind of collaborative spirit that will enable us to end modern-day slavery in our lifetime.” The website officially launches today and is accessible to all at www.vineyardusa.org/justice-response.


as i previously mentioned, the Vineyard has created space for engaging in theological reflection and interaction.  currently, there are two burgeoning communities:


    • Panel #1: Bible
      • Matt Croasmun, Yale University / Elm City Vineyard, USA
        “The Cross, Eucharist, and Imitation in the Gospel of John”
      • Addie Pearson, Greater Boston Vineyard, USA
        “Original Death: A Biblical Alternative To Original Sin”
      • Steven Hamilton, Baltimore Hebrew University / Central Maryland Vineyard, USA
        “Signs and Wonders: Wisdom and the Reign of God”
      • Respondent: Todd Kennedy, Union Theological Seminary / Elm City Vineyard, USA


    • Panel #2: Culture
      • Jason Clark, King’s College London / Sutton Vineyard, UK
        “Consumerism, Social Imagination, and Ecclesiology”
      • Jason Coker, Fuller Theological Seminary / Ikon Community, USA
        “The Begging Bowl: Towards a Kingdom Economy of Gifts, Power, and Justice”
      • Elisa Berry, University of Minnesota / Mercy Vineyard, USA
        “Beauty and the Practice of the Kingdom of God
      • Respondent: Ron Sider, Palmer Seminary


    • Panel #3: Theology
      • Jared Boyd, Central Vineyard, Columbus, USA “Naming Injustice: Doing Theology That Does Something” 
      • Orion Edgar, University of Nottingham “Justice and the Kingdom of God: Atonement and New Creation”
      • Ryan McAnally-­‐Linz, Yale University / Elm City Vineyard, USA
        “The Problem of the Contested Center
      • Respondent: Steve Robbins, Vineyard Leadership Institute / Vineyard Columbus


    • Panel #4: Religion and Science
      • Naomi Forrester, University of Texas, Galveston
        “Science vs. Christianity: A Battle To Be Won or Lost?”
      • Jonathan Rutz, University of Utah / Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor, USA
        “The Case for Creation Care as a Defining Paradigm for the Vineyard Movement”
      • Sarah Parker, Drew Theological School / North Jersey Vineyard, USA
        “Farmville: Longing for the Kingdom and the Persistent Problems of the Garden”
      • Respondent: TBA


    • Panel #5: Mission 
      • Cathy Zellmer, George Fox Evangelical Seminary / Vineyard Boise, USA
        “The Divine Perichoretic Mission of Love”
      • Steve Burnhope, London School of Theology / North Thames Vineyard, UK
        “Culture, Worldview, and the Cross: Penal Substitutionary Atonement and 21st Century Mission
      • Rick Love, VineyardUSA Blessing Muslims Initiative
        “‘Teaching them to obey all that I commanded you’: A holistic and integrated approach to training Kingdom disciples”
      • Respondent: Amy Coffin, Evanston Vineyard / Vineyard Discipleship School, Delhi


    • Panel #6: Concerning the Vineyard
      • Jon Bialecki, University of California, San Diego
        Jamie Wilson, Coast Vineyard, La Jolla, USA
        “Surprise, Return, and Futurity: Social Science Analysis of the Vineyard’s Temporal Imaginary of the Kingdom, and a Theological Rejoinder”
      • Steven Schenk, Buffalo Vineyard, USA
        “Power and Purpose in a Cross-­Shaped Community: Examining the Contradictions Between Theology and Praxis”
      • Doug Erickson, Marquette University / Vineyard Bible Institute
        “Advice to Vineyard Theologians (and Philosophers, and Scholars…)”
      • Respondent: Ron Sider, Palmer Seminary


  • the vineyard theological consultants: this seems to be Facebook-centric, but it is an initiative of Vineyard Bible Institute, which is an exclusive service to participating leaders who want to be theologically informed and kept up to date with recent research, trends and important or influential publications. this monthly membership will include a two hour webinar with Derek Morphew as well as a monthly book review.

“It is in the recovery of lament that I believe the Church has its greatest capacity to speak forcefully again into the culture around us. It is in our ability to weep, to moan, to wail in worship that we recover the peripheries of human existence, and find that God is there as well. No trite phrases or contrived ambivalence will do – we must face our sufferings, and those of our people, head on.”

– dan wilt, artisan

just FYI…

there are two threads on Jason Coker’s blog – pastoralia – that are going on which are really good discussions…check them out:



I have been reading a book I received as a Christmas present for a few weeks: Religionless Christianity: Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Troubled Times by Jeffrey Pugh.

…it is really great so far, but I have been pondering a quote from bonhoeffer in his ‘prison letters’, so I wrote a blog post about it, and it is my guest post at the not-the-religious-type blog today…

check it out: godless yet closer to God?

updates on blogging

as i mentioned before, i am stepping in to help manage and contribute to several other blogs:

be sure to regularly check out the sustainable faith blog, as I have two recent posts and every friday we have a ‘Lectio’ post based on the Gospel portion from the Revised Common Lectionary.

my two recent posts are:


For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~T.S. Eliot