The current installment of the COEC began meeting in 2007.

We are currently on a "break," for no particular reason, and many little reasons - mostly pertaining to life circumstances. If anyone is interested in calling a meeting, feel free to post on the blog, join the google group (see link below) and send an email, or contact either Nancy (nancykj10@yahoo.com) or Jesse (schroeder.jesse@gmail.com) for more information.

To receive cohort emails, join our Google group.


Re-tellings of the "Feeding of the 5,000"

We had a great gathering today! Thanks for those who followed the time change and made it to the Global Gallery to read, discuss, and retell the story of the feeding of the multitude (Luke 10, John 6). The re-tellings were really fun. I was able to collect a few, and others were written in journals so they will have to share on their own time (Andrew! Kristen!) But I did type out those that I could, and thought I would share them here:


"Outings with a large group of kids is not always easy, but as a teacher, its something you have to do. Do I have them all? Where are the lunches? Are they safe? These thoughts all ran through my mind as we became consumed in the crowd waiting to hear more from this man Jesus. The kids don't really know who He is or get his role in their community, but they don't really need to in their minds. He's interesting and unknown so they're intrigued - especially Michael. Meeting Jesus was all he talked about and as I did a quick head count, I realized he was gone. As any good teacher would, I began scanning the crowd and as I almost began to panic - there he was. He had pushed his way all the way to the front, practically standing at Jesus' side. What a pesty little kid, but bold you had to admit. Suddenly, he reaches into his bag and pulls out his lunch sack and offers it to a frowning friend of Jesus. He was offering them his food, and I thought about how insignificant that small amount was but what a big sacrifice that was for Michael, who had so little to offer coming from a poor family. But he was willing. Who could have guessed how his view of life changed with the feeding that followed. To some, it was just a free lunch; to Michael, having a small role in something so out of the ordinary. I knew he would never be the same." - Kellye Schroeder

"I was prepared. I thought ahead. I knew Jesus would talk for a long time. A LONG time....So I brought a lunch - a good sized lunch that would last me for the whole day. I didn't want to be hungry. I was smart about it.
But everyone else got caught up in the excitement, the aura, the emotion of Jesus and his miracles. I mean he was healing people right in front of our eyes! More and more would join the crowd, whether because they needed to be healed themselves, or they were adventure junkies - looking for a great story to tell their family and friends back home.
The crowd got bigger. We got further away from the city. And very few people had food or water. But I did. I was prepared. And I didn't plan to share. I was taking care of myself, like my mother had taught me. And I knew - no matter what happened to these other people - at least I would be OK.
Panic started to set in. People began to wonder about food, and looking to Jesus for direction. I can't be sure, but I thought I saw him get a little nervous himself. He held a little pow-wow with his disciples to come up with a plan. I snuck closer to hear what this genius Jesus - who hadn't htought about stopping his sermons for a lunch break - was going to come up with. I heard a disciple say, "But NO ONE has food!" I smirked, "Well I have food." They turned to me, saw the bread and fish I was munching on, and quickly snatched it out of my hands and showed it to Jesus. Before you knew it, wizz bang pow, there was food for everyone. Another miracle. Whoop dee doo.Everyone was glad to be eating, but no one realized it was my food they were eating! No one even asked my name.
Don't get me wrong. I'm happy people got to eat. I think it was cool what Jesus did. I'm impressed, and I'm going to check out another sermon sometime. But I just wish I would have gotten some more credit or recognition. I mean, without me, and my food, there never would have been a feeding of the 5,000." - Jesse Schroeder

"And Phillip said, 'Why did you ask us the question when you already knew what you would do?' Jesus said, 'Think about it. I asked the question so you would be part of figuring out the answer. First you used logic....but discovered it is too costly to buy bread for all of these. We don't have the money. Then you saw impossibility. There is a boy with 5 loaves and 2 fish. What is that among so many? Then you saw possibility when I said, 'Make the men sit down.' You believed.
I asked the question so you would be a part of finding the answer." - Nancy Jarosi

"Jesus mopped the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand. The day was warm and he was tired from healing so many. They just didn't get it. He hadn't come to fix all of their problems. He had come to show them the reign of God, to show them how to join with him in bringing it to life. His gifts were meant to empower them, to inspire them to become givers. Yet they were so young. Like their ancestors, every gift led to a demand for more. Why couldn't they see?
Jesus groaned as he saw the multitude crest the hill. Here they come again. Even so, his heart filled with love. They were his people. Perhaps something new would show them - a miracle of community, of sharing, or offering what little they had to the reign of God.
He looked at the disciples. Something they got. Often they didn't. Peter looked poleaxed as the crowd came on. Dub as a rock - God love - but a heart of gold. There was hope for him yet.
"How can we feed them?" He asked. Would they get it this time?
Blank looks showed back. One small boy offered his lunch.
Jesus sighed internally as his followers smiled at the boy. "The reign of God is like a child's heart" he thought. "have them sit." he said. "Let them gather."
He paused to connect with God. One day, all would know this relationship. He gave thanks. And he was grateful. The boy would understand. He blessed the lunch and watched as the people were fed.
Soon a ruckus arose. Rumor echoed through the crowd. They wanted to make him King again. They didnt' understand what that meant. Didn't understand that he already was a king in God's reign. Another gift. Another demand that he do everything for them. Quickly he gathered the food and slipped away. The boy would understand. And he would continue loving the rest of them until they did as well." - Chad Johns


This Sunday: Stories That Compost

**Note: Time Change - 1pm -3pm*** (same location)

I would like to lead the group in a participation of the "Stories that Compost" activity that Nancy and I did at the TransFORM conference. This is an easy, low-key activity that is high on participation and was really meaningful for me.

We will read a well-known story from the Bible, and then ask the questions: "What do you like about the story?" "What bothers you about the story?" and "What questions do you have about the story?" Then we will all individually re-write the story, and share our re-writes together.

I will also try to bring some examples from the Stories that Compost website/project.

Let's meet at Global Gallery in Clintonville from 1-3 pm - See everyone there! If you need more info, feel free to email me (schroeder.jesse@gmail.com) or call (614-557-5768)

As always, newcomers are always welcome!!


Celebration of the Faithful

Sunday, July 20 7pm

Come meet at Jesse & Kellye's house (2406 Altenburg Ct. Grove City 43123) for a fire with roasted marshmallows and stuff. We'll be bringing bread & wine for a relaxed communion, but won't have anything special scheduled.

Bring some board games for a backup in case its raining. Everyone is welcome to hang out as long as they want.

Call 614-557-5768 if you need directions or have questions.


Buddhism Discussion

Sunday, June 13
3-5 pm, Global Gallery in Clintonville

Tracy and I think of ourselves as both Buddhist and Christian. We'll share some of what that means to us, and then open up for discussion about what Buddhism is, and how it might (or might not) fit with a life of following Jesus. We'll have books to browse, and practice a few minutes of sitting meditation as well.

Whether you've met with us before or not, you're welcome to join us. We love to meet new people! If you have questions, please email angela.harms@gmail.com


Where Do I Even Begin?

I remember when I started questioning my beliefs and everything kind of fell apart. My immediate goal was to replace my theological foundation with another religion, system or something solid again.

But now several years have passed and I realize I don’t want to replace my old belief system at all. I actually do want to rebuild and reconstruct the beliefs I once held, loved and trusted.

The loss of my beliefs happened so quickly—things started disconnecting and unhooking and collapsed. But rebuilding takes much time and patience and the problem is my beliefs don’t look the same as they used to. Step 1: I look at a belief and see how it interconnects with another. Step 2: Realize they don’t fit. Step three: Put that belief down for a little while and try another. Step 4 Wait—ok I think these may fit together. Step 5 Start over with step one again.

I haven’t felt loved by God for a while. In the past I have experienced God’s love through a variety of ways…music, nature, loving others and being loved by them, reading the Bible, reading books, hearing from God, being led by God. After all God IS love.

Those things aren’t working like they always did. That probably doesn’t make sense. But it is as simple as this…

I don't know how to feel loved by someone I do not really know.

This is a rather heartbreaking thing to admit. All the while the prayer of my heart is…Teach me who You are. Show me that You love me.

I believe it will come. Thank you for being a part. I need to hear how you are doing it. I will add to Jesse’s questions in the post below. How do you know you are loved by God? How do you know who God is?


A challenging "assignment"...

A friend who keeps a great blog recently sent this in an email. I thought it would interesting to get responses from the cohort.

Post your answer in the comments, or write a separate blog post.

I'd like to invite you to participate in a new series called "3 Simple Questions About Jesus." Here's the premise:

You've just met a young American adult who is utterly irreligious. They were raised by agnostic parents, their family never attended any kind of religious gathering, and - although they understand what "religion" is and have been exposed to different religious practitioners - they don't really know anything about Jesus Christ or Christianity. But they're curious, so they ask you three simple questions:

1. Who is Jesus Christ?

2. What has he done?

3. Why does it matter?

I would love to get your simple, sincere, and conversational response in 300 words or less. You can respond with historical facts, theological musings, parables, or tell a story - whatever best represents your honest response.



This Sunday will be a discussion held at Kristin's and Andrew's. 2017 North Fourth Street. The theme is L'abri which is an intentional community and Christian hospitality center where I spent 6 months a few years ago. Its name comes from French meaning "Shelter" It was a place where I encountered people of faith who were -non-defensive and immersed in reality. The staff extended hospitality to me without agenda and allowed me space to ask questions and explore my spirituality.

I not only wanted to share a taped lecture that made a big impact on me while I was there but also give you a little taste of what L'abri is like. L'abri has intersected the lives of people in the cohort --Chris and I have been to the English L'abri, Kristin and Andrew plan to go a few weeks this fall to Canadian L'abri and Rachel who joined us last week spent some time at Dutch L'abri.

So without further ado...Join us for the lecture at 3:00. Its entitled "Difficult Forgiveness" by Brett Gray and it explores the philosophy of forgiveness especially through the thinkers Derrida and Paul Ricour. Though this might sounds a little daunting, Gray is extremely engaging and breaks down the ideas to not only make the topic accessible but offers some profound insights on a subject which he says is "at the center of what it is to be a Christian and Christians may have nothing better to offer this difficult world"

But if the idea of listening to a hour-long taped lecture is a bit much..please feel free to just come to the dinner/discussion at 4:30. It will be a potluck with a twist. In the communal spirit of L'abri we will all be preparing the dinner together so bring the ingredients to your favorite side dish and assemble it there. Kristin and Andrew are making a stew. Let us know in the comment section what you would like to make.

The discussion around the meal will be based on the theme of forgiveness but not so specific to the lecture that those who haven't heard it can't join in. "What do you actually do when you forgive someone?, Do forgiveness and forgetting go together? What about the voices of those who have been oppressed? Does forgiveness silence their stories?"

I am also attaching the link to the lecture here for those who would like to listen to the lecture in their own time. (Its not as long as it looks as a large portion of the segment is the questions at the end which you don't have to listen to)

Kristin, Andrew, Chris and I have had fun planning for this and we are really looking forward to sharing this time with all of you!

~Julia Orban

Little church experiment, week 3

So, maybe somebody's curious? I've been in a quiet, not-thinking-just-doing kind of mode lately. But I have to say I'm beginning to have a reaction forming in my gut or heart. Thought I'd share it.

This little thing is starting to feel like a mid-week refuge, like a holy space... a place where—can I say it? I'm loved. Or I'm reminded, in a tangible way, that I'm loved all the time. I'm feeling nourished.

I hope other folks are, too.

Grateful. Thank you.