Here is the long-awaited volume that provides both the theoretical foundations and practical guidance for developing new monastic and missional communities in contexts that are theologically progressive, racially and economically diverse, and multicultural. This book contains the wisdom and perspectives of people who live and serve in missional, new monastic communities in United Methodist and other mainline traditions, and it describes new forms of theological education that are emerging to resource a new generation of Christian leaders. Heath and Duggins challenge Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and other Christians to reach into their own robust, mainline heritage for resources to develop small, intentional communities that practice a rigorous life of prayer, hospitality, and justice. "Missional monastic communities display the work of the Spirit in this day. This book is a thoughtful primer for the academy and church on the ongoing reformation we are experiencing. The authors offer permission and how-tos to embrace this missional energy in ecumenical community." --Shelley Wickstrom, Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Alaska Synod "In her teaching and writing, Elaine Heath has led pilgrims to thin places where the Holy Spirit pierces most, if not all, of our illusions. As denominations flatten and fragment, she and Larry Duggins have become evangelists for a 'tradition behind the tradition' and strategists for a future that is missional, monastic, and mainline. Many will find healing and hope in these pages!" --Ken Carter, Bishop, United Methodist Church, Florida Elaine A. Heath is the McCreless Professor of Evangelism at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. She is also the Director of the Academy for Missional Wisdom, a non-degree program that equips clergy and laity to start and lead missional and new monastic communities, and is a program of the Missional Wisdom Foundation. She is the author of The Mystic Way of Evangelism (2008), Naked Faith: The Mystical Theology of Phoebe Palmer (2009), Longing for Spring: A New Vision for Wesleyan Communities (coauthored with Scott Kisker, 2010), We Were the Least of These: Reading the Bible with Survivors of Sexual Abuse (2011), and The Gospel According to Twilight: Women, Sex, and God (2011). Larry Duggins is Executive Pastor of Emerging Worship at White's Chapel United Methodist Church in Southlake, Texas, and is the Executive Director of the Missional Wisdom Foundation. He is the author of Simple Harmony (2012). Elaine and Larry are both ordained elders in the United Methodist Church.
Elaine A. Heath is a theologian whose work is interdisciplinary, integrating pastoral, biblical, and spiritual theology in ways that bridge the gap between academy, church, and world. Her current research interests focus on community as a means of healing trauma, emergent forms of Christianity, and alternative forms of theological education for the church in rapidly changing contexts.
Heath is the author of numerous books and articles, the most recent of which is Healing the Wounds of Sexual Abuse: Reading the Bible with Survivors (2019), a republication with updates of a previous volume: We Were the Least of These: Reading the Bible with Survivors of Sexual Abuse (2011). She also recently served as general editor of the Holy Living series, eight volumes each of which focuses on a particular spiritual practice. Within that series, she authored Holy Living: Celebration. Her other publications include Five Means of Grace: Experience God's Love the Wesleyan Way (2017), The Mystic Way of Evangelism, Revised and Updated 2nd Edition (2017), God Unbound: Wisdom from Galatians for the Anxious Church (2016), Missional. Monastic. Mainline (co-authored with Larry Duggins, 2014), Longing for Spring: A New Vision for Wesleyan Communities (co-authored with Scott Kisker, 2010), and Naked Faith: The Mystical Theology of Phoebe Palmer (2009).
Heath's vocational journey includes having served as Dean of the Divinity School at Duke University, and the McCreless Professor of Evangelism at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. She is a pioneer in new forms of theological education. In that capacity Heath is co-founder of the Missional Wisdom Foundation, a non-profit educational organization that equips clergy and laity to develop diverse forms of Christian community and social enterprise. Most recently she co-founded Neighborhood Seminary, a contextualized model of missional theological education for laity. Heath is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and served in pastoral ministry prior to her academic ministry. She lives with her husband at Spring Forest, an intentional Christian Community and farm in rural North Carolina where she serves as Abbess.
Larry Duggins is a Leader and Executive Director of the Missional Wisdom Foundation, which experiments with and teaches about alternative Christian community. Dr. Duggins is an elder in full connection in the United Methodist Church.