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Chris Yaw Interviews Jim Hamilton: Mainline Church Plant Pioneers Emergence

December 24, 2012

Taken with permission from

Fr. Jim Hamilton really thought the new Sunday night service he was hired to create would flop - but then God has a sense of humor.

Out of Christ Church, Cranbrook's desire for a contemplative service for 20-somethings came Lex Orandi which, two years later, is a vibrant community that has far surpassed expectations.

In this interview Jim, an incredibly gifted liturgist, preacher, and pastor, tells us how established churches might go about launching similar ventures. Learn from the wisdom of this inventive Episcopal priest.


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What started as a youth group for young adults has blossomed into a place where the de-churched and disillusioned come to feel the mystery of faith. Here are my notes from the interview:

Listen, Listen, Listen
It's the one thing Jim would've done differently before starting this venture: listen more completely to everyone involved - musicians, participants, the community. Going slower would've made a big difference.

Get Out of the Office
Jim can't stress enough the importance of today's clergy to get out of the office on a regular basis and meet the neighbors, church members, colleagues, etc. 1 day a week, minimum.

About Jim Hamilton
My calling, as it continues to coalesce into a more singular focus, is fed by three distinct drives in ministry. First, art delivered me to the church in the forms of theatre, literature and music and art continues to form my pedagogy for spiritual formation, my preaching passion and my joy of liturgical discovery. Second, social service and activism drew me into the Episcopal Church, a denomination not afraid to stand firm against adversity when defending the transformative claims of a gospel of love. Third, reconciliation and renewal was modeled for me in my work inside prisons, both with theatre and later with social services organizations. I believe a patient, loving community to be Christ's wish for us as one body of faith.

Books Jim Recommends
On Wealth and Poverty - John Chrysostom
Pedagogy of the Oppressed - Paulo Freire
The Postmodern Life Cycle - Friedrich Schweitzer



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