Reader Fred writes:

My family and I are wanting to move.  We have worked with a university para-church organization in the same city for over 20 years now, and while it’s been a great ride, we’re now ready for a change.

We are wanting to move to a city, and be part of a local church community, that have certain specific characteristics (see below) and I was wondering if you or some of your friends might have some suggestions for us?   Thanks for any help you can give.

A CITY:

  • A stand-alone city (not a suburb) with a population between 50,000 and 100,000:  large enough where cultural and intellectual things are happening, and yet small enough where you feel like you’re part of a distinct, local community.
  • A city where great potential exists for like-minded, Benedict Option Christians occasionally to meet together across denominational and communal lines, to learn from and sharpen one another.  The Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox parishes in this city are strong in and of themselves, yet they are generally marked by an eagerness to meet Christians from other communions.
  • A city where there is some sort of institutional, Christian, intellectual presence:  a seminary, Christian college/university, or Christian study center.  This intellectual institution helps in giving (or potentially could give) orthodox, theological and historical ballast to the larger Christian community.
  • A city with at least some ethnic diversity.
  • A city where all four seasons are distinctly experienced (i.e. the year is neither 90% summer nor 90% winter).  [OK, this one is negotiable.]

A LOCAL CHURCH:

A Protestant parish/church in this city that is characterized in two ways:  a strong commitment to historic, Christian orthodoxy, especially on matters of sex and marriage; and an eagerness to meet, dialogue with, and learn from Christians from other local parishes who are also committed to historic, Christian orthodoxy.

With respect to the contemporary culture, this parish/church is unwilling to jettison her commitment to counter-cultural biblical convictions; but with respect to other orthodox churches in the city, this church is open and willing to learn and enter into fellowship.  This church therefore is both resolute in not compromising on its Christian orthodox convictions, and yet also humble in its openness to learn from other orthodox churches.

Rod, does such a local church, in such a city, exist anywhere in America?

Thanks for any help you can provide me here.

Readers?