When Erik Ewing started the Definition Collective, he envisioned a place where people could come and be heard. He wanted to create a “church” that was less about the program and more about the conversation. After 18 years in traditional church ministry, he started to think that maybe church could look different and that maybe some of the traditions of the past century weren’t as life giving as they claimed to be. After meeting regularly with good friends and family and easily falling into spiritual conversation, the group decided it was worth starting something new to foster this idea of candid exchange.

Erik doesn’t really consider himself a pastor, but more of a facilitator or “custodian” of the DC’s gatherings. He sees himself as an equal participant in a setting where everyone’s viewpoint is valid and everyone’s contribution is valuable. The Definition Collective isn’t just about discussion, though. In the wake of recent flooding in the area, some of their group could be seen pulling waterlogged debris from houses to the curb and helping with clean-up in a local park. “Community is a huge thing for me and for what the Definition Collective is and stands for…we’re really trying to focus more on that idea of being a part of the community,” says Erik.

Another way the DC looks to connect with the community is through a monthly arts initiative they call “Live at the Hub”. On the first Saturday of every month from October to May, they host a live music event and feature local artwork on display. The goal is to foster a communal space for people to not only experience others’ art, but to also to be inspired to create their own. Erik has many ideas for what The Hub could be, but it all revolves around community actively contributing, creating and learning together. It seems that might be what this “church” thing is really all about.

The Definition Collective meets on the third floor at 25 E. Main St, Manheim, PA on Sunday mornings at 10:30. To learn more about the DC or “Live at the Hub”, you can contact Erik or visit the website at the information listed below:

Support for this episode provided by Winding Way Books, Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, & Lapp Structures.

Theme music: Invisible Walls by Revolution Void
Break music: Original Piece by Keith Slesser