Church of Refuge

 Church of Refuge (COR) is a resource offered by the Center for Youth Evangelism that assists local churches in providing meaningful, Christ-centered ministry that will attract and hold Young Adults.  The European The "Church of Refuge" (CORe) initiative is designed to help local communities to develop meaningful youth work. Providing a refuge is a core value of the Bible. The cities of refuge in the Old Testament are a witness to this (Deuteronomy 19). These were cities where safety, protection and care could be enjoyed.

COR Believers, Encouragers and Implementers

Church of Refuge came about largely because of the individuals who believed in the idea and experimented with ideas in their churches during the pilot process. COR and CYE would like to thank:

• Throstur Thordarson, South Bend SDA Church, Indiana

• Bill Payne, South Bend SDA Church, Indiana

• Ron Pickell, Berkeley SDA Church, California

• Rolando Morelli, Fontana Spanish SDA Church, California

• Bernie Anderson, Wasatch Hills SDA Church, Utah

• Jose Bourget, Lakeview SDA Church, Illinois

• Paul Tompkins, Youth Director, Trans-European Division

COR Creators

Ron Whitehead (Executive Director, Center for Youth Evangelism) developed the COR vision in concert with the leaders listed above. In the summer of 2008, Jeff Boyd was brought on board to coordinate the planning, initial resource development, and implementation of Church of Refuge. Japhet De Oliveira(Director, Center for Youth Evangelism) played an important leadership role in developing the online aspect of this ministry. Andrew Perrin and Rob Fuste were also instrumental in creating the COR website.

COR Leadership

Justin Yang (Co-Director) is ministries director for the Center for Yourth Evangelism in Berrien Springs.

A friend of Brian Wahl. Jesus.ALL, 5 stars Amazon costomer review feb 17, 2014: This review is from: For the One: Voices from The One Project (Kindle Edition)

A rallying cry in Adventism to make Jesus the epicenter of all theology, ecclesiology and eschatology. If you have been disillusioned and disenfranchised by Adventism (perhaps without Jesus) - I would strongly recommend you to pick up this book and start reading with your heart wide open. Chapters are filled with voices from the wilderness where the modern John the Baptists in Adventism are heralding the cry "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). You'll find yourself panting, thirsting and hungering after the righteousness of Christ and will long to find yourself in Christ. And from your position "in Christ" - you'll be empowered by the Spirit to live out your calling for this generation and for the end of times.

COR Coaches

  • Anna Romuald #((associate pastor at Southview Adventist Church in Minneapolis; speaker at the1project Seattle 2014 "This is My Dream")
  • Bernie Anderson ( Anderson serves as Lead Pastor of the Wasatch Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church in Salt Lake City, UT)
  • Jose Bourget # (chaplain in the Office of Campus Ministries which arranged th"Present Truth", created by theOneproject. He also promotes the1project 2011 together with Japhet de Oliveira on a flyer at Andrews.) Jose Bourget: On July 1 2011, Jose will transition from his role as the CYE Assistant Director into a position as an Associate Pastor at Pioneer Memorial Church, serving as the Andrews University Chaplain for Outreach.
  • Alex Bryan #
  • David Ferguson # ( Director of Undergraduate Leadership Development, Andrews University and Senior Pastor at One Place, a worship service co-founded by One Project co-chair Japhet De Oliveira located at Andrews University)
  • Matthew Gamble #
  • Denny Grady #Chicago 2013 "A great spiritual retreat that I look forward to every year."
  • Kenley Hall # (DMin Associate Professor of Christian Ministry Director at Andrews University: He threatened Review and Herald with this statement:

      "I have made the personal decision and have shared it with my students to boycott Review and Herald and the ABC until it not only stops marketing this book [The Omega Rebellion] but confesses its own sin in publishing such trash that has harmed the church and its ministers.")

  • Eddie Hypolite # (Associate Youth Director for the South England Conference and consultant to the One project)
  • Ben Orian
  • Ron Pickell #2014 #2012
  • Throstur Thordarson ( the pastor of the South Bend First Seventh-day Adventist Church in South Bend, Indiana. )
  • Brian Wahl # (BC Youth & Young Adult Director)
  • Ron Whitehead# (Executive Director, Center for Youth Evangelism; Assistant Professor, Seminary Church Ministries; Assistant to the President for Spiritual Life, Andrews University ) In 2006, Japhet De Oliveira joined CYE as an Associate Director and as of 2009 was appointed the Director of CYE with Ron Whitehead still serving as Executive Director.

#       Because of the seemingly close connection to the1project, a # marks participation at the1project 2014 in Seattle or an other.




Position Paper



Principle 2—Discipleship

McLaren (2002) connects discipleship and evangelism by stating, "Making disciples is the more biblical term for evangelism and the original way of saying ‘engaging in spiritual friendship’" (p. 61).

Kimball (2003) reinforces the need to be explicit about discipleship with emerging populations in the context of the church. "Our definition of discipleship must be clear and knownby everyone in our church. Each church should have a written definition, known by everyone, which serves as a reference point for every decision, program, and strategy" (p. 215).

Principle 3—Acceptance

In his book Under the Overpass, Mike Yankoski (2005) shares personal experiences that highlight the desire for acceptance. Mike and his friend, Sam, chose to live as homeless vagabonds for several months. During this time they were often ignored or treated contemptuously by Christians on the street and even when visiting churches. "Even at church, we felt isolated because of how we looked, how we smelled, and who people perceived us to be. In fact, walking into a church where we hoped to find genuine fellowship only to be met by condescension or suspicion or disingenuous flattery was the worst kind of rejection" (p. 158-


Dan Kimball (2003) shares a moving and personal example of acceptance from his early twenties while living in London when he walked into a local church and met Stuart, the pastor.

Stuart took me under his wing. Picture this unlikely combination: an eighty-threeyear-old man, and me, dressed all in black with a very tall pompadour, spiked wrist bads, a metal belt, a skull bolo tie, and thick-soled Creeper shoes. Stuart never seemed to see any of that. He looked right past my exterior and showed me Jesus. And it didn’t matter to me whether Stuart dressed in the latest fashion or whether he knew all the bands I was interested in. What mattered to me was that he loved God and that he unconditionally cared about and loved me. (p. 218)

Kimball (2007) cautions, "we should be careful not to make judgments based on personal opinions rather than on the clear teaching of scripture. I have talked to many wounded younger Christians who left the church because they were confronted in a legalistic way about extrabiblical things" (p 106).

Kimball (2007) argues that we should deal with sin openly with younger generations, but in a context of love and concern. He writes:

The churches that I have seen that are well-populated by emerging generations are by no means holding back talking about sin. When the pastors and leaders teach, they say hard things, calling for repentance and calling out sin, but the context is love. When there are relationships and trust-building, emerging generations respond well to being told about sin and repentance…. So I don’t advocate holding back when it comes to talking about sin with younger people in the church, but I am saying that we should do it at the right time with the right attitude. (p 110)

Principle 4—Community

Principle 5—Support

Principle 6—Service

In The Emerging Church, Dan Kimball (2003) asks the question, "What is your church’s response to the poor and needy in your town? This type of preaching (and it is preaching) in a post-Christian culture will go far beyond what our words from a stage or pulpit could ever communicate. We need to see preaching in our worship services as the first step toward what our churches preach with their lives in our communities" (p. 195). Again he states, "With emerging generations, I believe that social action must be locked into our core values and incorporated into how we view our mission as a church, both locally and globally" (p. 224).

Kimball again notes this priority in They Like Jesus but Not the Church (2007). He has found that "churches attended by emerging generations usually have a strong emphasis on bringing the love of Jesus to others. You see many emerging churches concerned not only with local and global social justice but also with taking action" (p. 110).

Principle 7—Leadership

Principle 8—Budget

Principle 9—Change

  • Dan Kimball. (2003). The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for New Generations.
  • Dan Kimball. (2007). They Like Jesus but Not the Church.
  • Brian D. McLaren, (2002). More Ready Than You Realize: Evangelism as Dance in the Postmodern Matrix.
  • Yankoski, M. (2005). Under the Overpass: A Journey of Faith on the Streets of America. Sisters, OR: Multnomah.


The good news of CORe will continue to spread and in so doing hopefully a different church will emerge to meet the needs of the twenty-first century people Groups. (underlining is ours)


  • From CORe Foundation, Rethink Church:
    Churches of Refuge follow the traditions and ideas of these biblical cities of refuge and apply them specially to being a safe place for young people. A Church of Refuge is a faith community that is purposeful in providing a safe place and sanctuary for everyone. Churches of Refuge are intentional about young people, ensuring that they feel protected, that they are valued, and that they can get involved. ... CORe churches are committed to developing safe but challenging environments and inclusive faith communities for mission, where all members are empowered to experience and strengthen their faith.

  • From CORe principle 1 - Accept:
    By so doing young people have the opportunity for their faith to develop and mature in a safe and accepting environment. Importantly, CORe churches are committed to aiding this all important faith development by loving and accepting young people for who they are.

  • From CORe principle 3 - Meet:
    A place of their own in a church provides youth with a safe haven and helps to build community.
  • From CORe principle 4 - faith: Ultimately, the whole thing can be summed up by thinking about what allows a person to grow. When a young person experiences a safe place where they can be themselves, ask the questions they need to and be understood by people who care, they will grow in faith and maturity.

  • From Emergent Insiders? 2009, April 29, reply by Mike Clawson (Emergent Cohorts Coordinator, Emergent Village, 2007 - 2013):

    Emergent Village struggles with the tension of being a place for provocative, cutting edge theological questioning, and being a safe place for newcomers to the conversation to begin asking their questions. ... If you’re looking for a safe place to ask the questions (whatever your particular questions happen to be) and be in conversation with others (and offer that safe place to them as well), then the emerging church is for you.

  • From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
  • In educational institutions, safe-space originally were terms used to indicate that a teacher, educational institution or student body does not tolerate anti-LGBT violence, harassment or hate speech, thereby creating a safe place for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students. The term safe space has been extended to refer to a space for individuals who are marginalized to come together to communicate regarding their experiences with marginalization, typically on a university campus.

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