Still Abiding

How can an affluent, high-achieving, suburban congregation foster authentic relationships among stressed and isolated young people? In this episode, meet the Rev. Meredith Keseley of Abiding Presence Lutheran Church in Burke, Virginia, and listen to the Rev. Aqueelah Ligonde, as they discern the Holy Spirit's transformative presence in blossoming relationships.

We were on a path that we thought we knew how to do, and we needed to have that pushed so far aside that there really was room for the Holy Spirit to come in and do something new. And that's what wound up happening! Even what we're doing now is nothing of the pieces that we put down on paper in that process and everything of the spirit of it. -Rev. Meredith Keseley

Part One—Rockin' the Suburbs
(0:00-4:36)
Host Megan DeWald sets the stage for understanding the context in which Abiding Presence Lutheran Church in Burke, Virginia is developing a new form of youth ministry through the Institute for Youth Ministry's Log College Project.

Part Two—The Gift of Honest Feedback
(4:37-19:43)
Abigail Visco Rusert discusses how the mutuality of the Log College Project allowed the IYM to learn alongside and from our Design Fellows like the Rev. Meredith Keseley. Meredith shares her realization that being pushed outside of the box can make room for the Holy Spirit.

Part Three—Making Room
(19:44-34:22)
Meredith describes how her vocational journey mirrored her congregation's journey through the Log College Project, paying attention to the Holy Spirit at work, even in unexpected ways. By tracing this thread, Meredith and her Design Team were able to respond quickly and creatively to the needs of young people in the wake of the pandemic.

Part Four—Authentic Relationships
(33:23-39:51)
Aqueelah Ligonde, a Research Fellow for the Log College Project, shares stories from her visit to Abiding Presence and reflects on the depth of care she witnessed in relationships across generations.

Conclusion & Credits
(39:52)
Next week, we'll wrap up this first season of our podcast by inviting you into a staff meeting of the Institute for Youth Ministry. In this bonus episode, we'll discuss the themes that have emerged from this season of Disrupting Ministry, as we dream, scheme, and co-conspire about the future of ministry with young people.

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Audio editing  and production by Nii Addo Abrahams (Follow @_nickyflash_)
Music available at Epidemic Sound (https://www.epidemicsound.com/)
The IYM thanks Maiia Avelino, Meredith Keseley, Aqueelah Ligonde, & Christine Toto.