Notes from the Field of Youth Ministry

Kairos West

Posted By Milly Morrow on May 01, 2014

During the season of Lent a large group of people from around Western North Carolina were blessed to spend

significant time at Lake Logan Center praying with and

learning from our Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts-

Schori. Bishop Katharine reminded us of our need and

the wider church’s call to take the work of the Church out

of our church buildings and into the larger community

through ministries whose intent is to reach those not

attending churches, those seeking spiritual community,

and those on the margins in need of community. We are

called to do this not because it is trendy or to be the “new”

or “emergent” church, but rather because it is, at our

core, our baptismal vow to serve those in need. It is our

baptismal call to be the hands and feet of Jesus the Christ.

During this time numerous persons, lay and ordained,

within our diocese spoke of the work they are blessed

to do and that our communities are blessed to witness.

We heard of community garden ministry, food co-op

ministry, ministry to people in prison, and ministry to

victims of violence.

I was excited to be among those ministers invited to

speak of our ecumenical work creating and laying the

foundations of The Kairos West Community Center in

West Asheville. This work of Kairos West has reached

an exciting new level, and I am thrilled to update you

about this growth.

Some months ago The Episcopal Church along with

our Western North Carolina Diocese granted us

$40,000 to begin work on a community center in West

Asheville. West Asheville is a growing and thriving

business center with so many new restaurants and

new business ventures opening it is difficult to keep

up with it all! West Asheville has been mentioned in

many publications, including The New York Times and

Southern Living, as a great place to visit, shop, and dine.

While this is great news for those of us privileged with

purchasing power, it has made little positive difference

for those without the same purchasing power. It has

made little positive difference for people living on the

margins or trying to find community built on some

value other than production or consumption. Having

a community defined by values such as consumption

and production can lead to increases in competition

and decreases our ability to find space and time to value

collaboration and connection.

As Christians, our sacred texts teach that collaboration and

connection are the foundations of a thriving and healthy

community. Through collaborating and connecting, a

community builds its own unique ability to identify, name,

and solve the many problems facing our local and wider

world today. This is the basis for our mission at Kairos

West Community Center. I am excited to announce that

this new initiative, or Missional Enterprise Zone (as it

is referred to by The Episcopal Church), has found a

location, a space, where we can be the church in the world.

Beginning May 1st Kairos West Community Center

will be located at 742 Haywood Road in West Asheville.

There you can find a place to meet, to gather and to build community around the values that we believe can

decrease isolation and increase collaboration. Activities

in this space will include community members, youth,

new home-owners, business leaders, and professionals

who want to participate in conversations about particular

concerns, as well dialogue around their dreams and visions

for their work and their living in community. There you

can also find what we are calling a “Social Justice Reading

Room,” a library of theology and social justice books and

comfortable couches to enjoy a fresh (and free) cup of java

while you read about issues that matter to you! In addition,

we will be welcoming people who want to build community

through such activities as Bible study, education, prayer,

and fellowship. The coordinator of the center, Emily, is a

LCSW and will be providing group as well as one on one

counseling sessions.

Together we will listen for the needs that arise from

within this community and will create ways to meet

those needs through our abilities as God’s ministers in

the world. As my role is to be “Missioner” in this new

ministry, this additional role in no way means I am

leaving as an employee of The Cathedral of All Souls—

it simply means our ministry together takes on a wider

reach. There are many ministers involved and the work

has support beyond me or even All Souls! The more

ministers (both lay and ordained) that own this center,

the stronger the work will be.

I hope you will join us in this exciting new initiative by

being present and by giving of your time, resources, and

prayer for our ministry. We will keep you posted as to

ways in which you can do so. The timing of this effort,

reaching this new level of fruition, in the same month

as my priestly ordination is a deep grace. The offering

from my ordination (May 10th at 4:00 p.m. here at the

Cathedral), which is designated for the new priest’s

discretionary use, will go to the work of Kairos West

Community Center.

I want to thank you all for your continued prayers. If you

have interest in knowing more about this work please feel

free to call me, pick up a brochure in our office, or find us

on Facebook at www.facebook/Kairoswest.

It is an exciting time to be the church in the world. Please

join us as we dream new dreams and reach out to those

seeking connection.