Church Grapples with Identity

Vox VeniaeAUSTIN, TX (May 18, 2016) – A church’s struggle for identity even in the midst of doing strong ministry was just one of the themes of a new article about the Covenant congregation Vox Veniae that was featured in Faith and Leadership, a publication of Duke Divinity School.

The article titled “Austin Church Is a ‘Voice of Grace’ for a Rapidly Changing City” notes, “Today, the city’s young, quirky, creative vibe clearly pulses through the congregation of about 300. But Vox Veniae is a church constantly grappling with complex issues of identity: What does it mean to be a multiethnic congregation with Chinese immigrant roots? A church that planted itself in a historically black neighborhood that is rapidly being gentrified? A church that, in seeking to reflect its home city, has become mostly white?”

Pastor Gideon Tsang described the church, saying, “We’re a small, messy little community trying to do our best, live life together, find our vocation and find roots in the city.”

The article also includes several paragraphs about why the church decided to affiliate with the ECC. “While the church tackles questions of evolving identity—both in the congregation and in the neighborhood—Vox leaders have found stability and context within the Evangelical Covenant Church,” writer Eileen E. Flynn said.

She added that the church members supported the affiliation, even amid the trend of young people resisting denominational ties. The reasons for joining the Covenant in 2011 included connecting with “historic Christian tradition” and being part of something larger and diverse.

“ECC congregations represent a mix of theological and political views, too, some of which Vox members don’t agree with,” Flynn writes. “But that’s part of the challenge of diversity, Tsang acknowledged. And it suits the ethos Vox Veniae has embraced from the beginning. ‘It’s not always a comfortable fit for us,’ he said. ‘But I think that’s healthy.’”





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