Gordon Cosby and Church of the Saviour.

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“[Gordon] and his wife, Mary, began to craft an unusual church structure: Members had to commit to an inward journey of daily quiet prayer, meditation and courses on Christianity as well as an outward journey of social justice work. People would be held accountable by working in small groups.Washington Post

That was 60 years ago. Gordon Cosby, now 91, just gave his last sermon at Church of the Saviour, Washington DC. Although the future of the church is uncertain [the building is for sale] the impact of this ministry has been immeasurable. I visited this ministry in 1999 and heard Gordon preach a fantastic, heartfelt message on integrity and finances. It was in a coffee shop but there was no coffee, unfortunately. A bit mean not to serve coffee until afterwards, my gosh, i was staring at a cold coffee maker during the whole service . . . but it was a real privilege to be there and hear the one and only Gordon Cosby.

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Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name “Precious” :-)

5 Comments

  • Inner journey? Outward journey? Small groups? Accountabiity? Doesn’t this guy know that church is really about attending inspirational services and having your needs met?

  • I visited Church of the Saviour in the early ’90s. (Somewhere in a box is an 8mm of an interview with Mary Crosby which I must find.) From there I went to a Promise Keepers Pastors Conference in Atlanta. Interestingly, Church of the Saviour left a lasting impression and informs the Missional Conversation – or, at least it should. I don’t remember much about the PK event – except it was really big.

  • I knew people back in the ’70s and ’80s who were members. They were a cut above, always a measure of the commitment to discipleship to imprinted itself on my own restless desire to be better than I am. As an outsider, it always seem that to become a member there required such sacrifice. Decades later, I suspect that I’m the one who sacrifice the best for only the better. Ultimately, what TCOTS will be known for is not its advocacy for the urban poor, but rather its love and service to them. They were always more spiritually mature than the angry radical homeless advocates that I knew. Thanks for bringing Gordon Cosby back to mind.

  • I was so inspired by this article. These folks were ’emerging’ and ‘missional’ nearly 70 years ago! I’ve heard of them before but I want to know more now. We have a lot to learn from Church of the Saviour.

  • Appreciate reading your comments. As a member of The Church of the Saviour, and the continuing staff member, I thought I’d clarify that the church isn’t “ending.” For about 15 years, we’ve been made up of small faith communities (now 9) and these communities continue. Gordon won’t be preaching weekly, but he’ll still be bringing his gifts to various ministries, along with the rest of us. And we’ll keep trying to be open to the dyings that inevitably come. I wonder if a good deal of the pain in church work comes from trying to keep structures alive long after they’ve died, or fearing what is simply a natural part of God’s growing process.

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