United Church of Christ Resources

Scattering Seeds: Scattering Seeds (A94224)

Cultivating Church Vitality

by Stephen Chapin Garner

forward by Anthony B. Robinson

In Scattering Seeds: Cultivating Church Vitality, Stephen Chapin Garner and Jerry Thornell share the story of their home congregation, the United Church of Christ in Norwell, MA.

This average congregation has approached congregational life in a not-so-average way. Each congregant is seen as a minister, bringing the good news of Christ to the community; the church has moved away from boards and committees, instead utilizing the people to form ministry teams; and they have revitalized the way they approach and practice worship and education. Garner and Thornell don't claim to have the secret to church growth and vitality, but in sharing the story of their simple church in New England, they give hope and innovative ideas to congregations in regions all over the country.


Stephen Chapin Garner is the pastor of the United Church of Christ in Norwell, Massachusetts.  He teaches preaching and pastoral studies at Boston University School of Theology.  His books include Getting Into Character: The Art of First-Person Narrative Preaching, Lost in the Middle?   Claiming an Inclusive Faith for Christians Who Are Both Liberal and Evangelical, and Found in the Middle! Theology and Ethics for Christians Who are Both Liberal and Evangelical.

Jerry Thornell is a graduate of Northeastern University; has been a member of the United Church of Christ in Norwell, Massachusetts, for over 30 years; and currently is a staff member serving as financial administrator and gifts and call coordination.  He was employed by the Polaroid corporation for 36 years in various financial management positions.


Author: Stephen Chapin Garner, Jerry Thornell,
Publisher: The Alban Institute
Keywords: vitality, church, cultivating, seeds, scattering
Published: 2012-01-27

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