By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
When he meets with other church planters, the Rev. Rodger Woodworth finds he’s old enough to be the father of many of them.
In one case, he is.
The Rev. B.J. Woodworth is a second-generation church planter, founding Open Door in Highland Park. It’s one of several new churches planted by the Pittsburgh Presbytery in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
“I’ve always had a heart for people who don’t feel like they fit into church,” said the younger Rev. Woodworth.
Open Door actually worships regularly in an old church building, except it isn’t one anymore.
Each Sunday, Open Door members set up and take down chairs as a tenant of the Union Project, a nonprofit group that purchased and renovated a grand stone sanctuary of a defunct Baptist congregation. The Union Project hosts a variety of community activities, from the offices of civic groups to art classes to weddings.
“We’re never in our own space,” the younger Rev. Woodworth said. “We’re always out in the world. One of the ways church has to reinvent itself is to be everyday ordinary people and be salt and light and peace in the neighborhood. Building big buildings and inviting people to come is not working the way it was 50 to 100 years ago.”
The Open Door started an urban farm on a couple of open acres on Garfield hilltop. Using raised garden beds, greenhouses and other means, the church now regularly harvests a bounty that it distributes in a farmer’s market in cooperation with nearby Valley View Presbyterian Church.
And it sometimes has outdoor worship there.
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