Photo credit: Bret Wells

Photo credit: Bret Wells

Launch & Lead Alum, Mary Beth Taylor

This week’s spotlight is taken from Together: Community as a Means of Grace by Larry Duggins.

Reverend Mary Beth Taylor noticed a different kind of community while she was Associate Pastor at Littleton UMC outside of Denver. Mary Beth, also a graduate of Launch & Lead, noticed that many people enjoyed spending some of their recreational time having a cold beer and some appetizers at the local pub, just like she and her life partner, Steve. She pulled together a small group of people and formed Open Space, a community that meets monthly in a local bar and grill. They describe their goal of "striving to be an open-minded group that invites all to spark deep conversation and find spiritual meaning in a safe and diverse environment, exchange insights without judgement, and find the small ways to help better our local and world communities." Under the guidance of a lead team of community members, Open Space discusses contemporary spiritual issues like "Sports & Spirituality" and "Angels and Demons and Mental Illness." The community is open and affirming, intentionally incorporating people of any orientation or background. Supportive denominational leadership has made it possible for Mary Beth's pastoral appointment to be completely focused on Open Space, embracing the possibilities of a thriving church community outside of the walls of the church building.

Larry Duggins, Together: Community as a Means of Grace (Portland: Cascade Books, 2017).