This is my friend Gil Wise. He’s a remarkable man. We were at Duke Divinity School together in the mid 1980’s. He’s now a Bishop!
Gil is an opportunist with a big heart and an inclination to take leaps of faith. I visited him briefly for half a day in late 2008, when his church and community reinvention was just taking off. A church at the intersection of three counties (so belonging to none of them), surrounded by trailer parks and very expensive retirement homes. Feeding 500 people a week from part of a temporary trailed building in which the church office was also based. He had already formed remarkable connections with the local community – residents (rich and poor), councils, schools, you name it.
The church did a crazy thing and started a theological school and appointed their recent-convert, tattooed youth worker to lead it. Gil showed me the plans for building a $1.5 million community centre.
Gil is a pentecostal kind of Methodist, who believes that the Spirit is doing stuff here and now. I love his passion and openness to possibilities.
Go and read the story here. Duke Divinity School recognised the value of what they were doing and asked him to help teach people about rural ministry. The Duke Endowment decided to add some funding. It’s a wonderful narrative about risk and hope.
And no, the church doesn’t have a website.
(Photo by Lissa Gotwalls from http://www.faithandleadership.com)