Presbyterians Today

NOV-DEC 2018

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Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018 17 it back to his ministry in upstate New York. "It has transformed how I approach a sermon and how I preach a sermon," Coombs said, explaining how he internalizes the Scripture, telling it rather than reading it, engaging others to be in the story with him. Beyond Sunday mornings, Coombs credits storytelling with also trans- forming his congregation. Just recently, his wife and co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian, Kathy Gorman-Coombs, shared how a woman's group she was leading came to life as those gathered freely shared their stories of faith. Coombs' storytelling ministry, though, is not just local anymore. Last summer, he was in Haiti sharing the art of biblical storytell- ing — an important mission, as 40 percent of Haitians cannot read. Even those who can are not encour- aged to read Bibles, nor do they often hear the Bible read in worship, Coombs says. Back in the States, Coombs has also created a new worshiping com- munity around the art of storytelling. The community is called Parallels, which Coombs explains invites people to come and hear a Bible story and then hear personal stories that relate to the Scripture. The idea for Parallels came when Coombs heard a definition of what Jesus' parables were at a Network of Biblical Storytellers festival. "A parable is story told in parallel to another story," Coombs says. The Parallels community meets monthly at Charlton Freehold Presbyterian Church in Ballston Lake, New York. Coombs chose that location because it is a sister church in his area that needed some attention. "I wanted to bring some energy to their church," he said. In addition to monthly storytelling sessions, during each season Parallels meets in a tavern across the street from the church for what Coombs calls "Story Slams." The new worshiping com- munity has had a small but steady following, Coombs says. But attendance might pick up when word gets out that Coombs will be on Broadway this December. "I've been invited to do A Christmas Carol at the Broadway Presbyterian Church in Manhattan," Coombs laughs. Donna Frischknecht Jackson is the editor of Presbyterians Today and a rural pastor in Vermont. She plans to ask Tim Coombs for his autograph the next time she sees him at an Albany Presbytery meeting. LEARN MORE Learn more about the Network of Biblical Storytellers at COURTESY OF TIM COOMBS With the help of a translator, the Rev. Tim Coombs brings to life the Bible as he shares his storytelling ministry with those in Haiti. Endorsed Mover for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Stevens is proud to deliver over 110 years of family-owned moving expertise and quality services to Presbyterian Church (USA) Members, Clergy and Employees and Educators: • Discounted pricing • Top-rated drivers and crews • Customized moving packages • Stevens Home Protection Kit™ • Free no-obligation move estimate • Single point-of-contact Trust the Stevens Worldwide Van Lines USDOT 72029 CALL VICKI BIERLEIN: 800.248.8313 Clergy Move Center ™ T h e w a y t o m o v e

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