Church in the Cliff

An emergent community of faith in the Oak Cliff neighborhood in Dallas

Church in the Cliff is an inclusive and affirming community where all are welcome. We are a theologically and socially progressive Christian church where questions, dialogue, and justice-making are at the heart of our identity. At most of our gatherings, you’ll find people sharing food and conversation, as we seek to celebrate and create beauty in art, nature, the world and each other. We are located in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas, TX. We meet at 11am on Sunday mornings. Hope to see you there! We have a closed group at Join it to stay in touch with the community!

Never a dull moment at #ChurchInTheCliff ! Today we’re starting a mini series called Woo. Join us for the next two weeks as we look at different religious and spiritual practices.

We had a great #DrinkDocDiscuss tonight for #TheArtistIsPresent about Marina Ambramovic. Thank you so much to Erica Felicella for coming and leading a discussion afterwards about performance art and connection. Our delicious food tonight came from Bonton Farms!

[01/19/20]   Sunday School has been super interesting the last few weeks!

Join us tomorrow at 10am where we’ll be looking at the ways women are treated in the Torah through the lens of Wil Gafney’s womanist midrash.

Reminder! Tomorrow is the anti-racist workshop at CitC

Join us this Saturday.
Suggested $10 donation for public.

Casa de Paz Montessori

Join us this Saturday.
Suggested $10 donation for public.

Casa de Paz Montessori

Join us this Saturday.
Suggested $10 donation for public.

[01/02/20]   We had a beautiful New Years Service last night that included a Burning Ceremony. We had everyone write down things from 2019 they wanted to leave behind and their expectations for 2020. Then we burned all of it.

Below are the texts we used for our Gathering Words, our Litany for Burning, and our Benediction. We hope you enjoy them!

Gathering Words:
An alternative reading of Matthew 3:2 and 4:17
Neil Douglas-Klotz, The Hidden Gospel, 1999

Turn again! Return to unity with Unity,
like the sea flowing back to shore, in ebb and tide.
The empowering vision,
the “I-Can” of the cosmos,
the reign of all that vibrates,
the queendom of heaven
arrives at this moment!
It draws near, touching us,
Carrying us away,
wrenching us back into rhythm
with the vibration of One.

Litany for Burning:
Written by Scott Shirley
(the first line of every stanza was read together)

We choose mourning over melancholy.
We name what has passed, what has been lost, so that we know what it is and what it isn’t. So that we know what we still have and who we are.

We choose release and reconciliation over resentment and regret.
We have hurt and been hurt. We seek out the places of harm to find healing.

We choose awareness over anxiety.
We strive to know what is real. We will know its contours and, yes, even its dangers, so that we might respond in peace rather than react in fear.

We choose hope over harrow.
We will not allow the future to vex us. What is possible - and even what is impossible - peace, love, justice, belonging, wisdom, freedom, wholeness - is our destiny and our birthright as children of God.

We choose wonder over worry.
The future is unknown because we have not yet met God to make it. Mystery is a shadowy, shoreless ocean of not yet. We will swim its depths in joy, not to be engulfed, but enraptured!

Beannacht – A New Year Blessing John O’Donohue

On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.
And when your eyes
Freeze behind
The grey window
And the ghost of loss
Gets into you,
May a flock of colours,
Indigo, red, green
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.

Happy New Year! What's Happening at Church in the Cliff -

Putting together bags for our fifth Sunday Gayle’s Kitchen at Oak Lawn United Methodist Church. Thanks to everyone who helped out!

[12/28/19]   Tomorrow is our annual PJs, carols, and potluck brunch! We'll start things around 11, we hope you can join us!

Queer Theology

This hymn, sung by a young woman, who is a person of color, a refugee, pregnant and unmarried, and basically she sings this badass song saying, “God is going to send the rich away empty-handed, pull the arrogant down from their thrones, and lift up the lowly and fill the hungry." If that isn’t radical, I don’t know what is.

Oak Lawn United Methodist Church

Tonight we will open for dinner only from 6:00pm-7:30pm. We still need a few more volunteers so if you're available to come serve dinner, please sign up via the link below!

We will be closed for shelter tomorrow night, 12/18, as the forecast does not meet our requirements to open.

Adopt a Family 2019

Every Christmas, we adopt a local family and help them complete their Christmas shopping! Want to help out? Sign up below and bring your unwrapped gift to church by this Sunday! Sign up to donate holiday gifts to a family in need! Our adopted family includes a 21-year-old mother and 3 children: 9 yo boy, 2 yo girl, and 6 month old baby girl. We need all items by Sunday, Dec. 15.

Oak Lawn UMC has a few more spots open for volunteers at their shelter through tonight!

Ok, folks, it's go time as we ACTIVATE shelter for tomorrow night! Sign up for a shift via the link below! We have 8 slots available for the first shift to help with the meal preparing/serving/cleaning.

How Science Fiction Can Re-Envision Justice

"The science fiction—or speculative fiction, fantasy, horror, magical realism, etc.—we humans create doesn’t appear out of the ether. Whether it’s Hunger Games, Harry Potter, or Star Wars, these fantastical worlds end up exploring issues like war, racism, gender oppression, power, privilege, and injustice. There is nothing new under the sun. But as Butler so deftly tells and shows us in her novels, these new suns offer us infinite new opportunities to re-envision our current world."

Such a good read on the importance of re-envisioning the future using science fiction, especially by authors in the societal margins. The article's author, Walidah Imarisha, is one of the editors of Octavia's Brood, the book we've been discussing in Sunday School and church! Our justice movements desperately need science fiction.

Adopt a Family 2019

Here is the Adopt A Family list for those who were asking on Sunday! Sign up to donate holiday gifts to a family in need! Our adopted family includes a 21-year-old mother and 3 children: 9 yo boy, 2 yo girl, and 6 month old baby girl. We need all items by Sunday, Dec. 15.

Alliance of Baptists

It's #givingtuesday and we are aiming to raise $5000 today! As you give back to the organizations you love on this day of giving, consider making a gift to the Alliance! Join us as we give rise to hope through our active hope partners across the globe! Through these partnerships we share in a mutual exchange of learning, growing, and living into justice around the world.

Give today at

And be sure to join us this evening for our Virtual Holiday Party from 6-8pm EST! Put on your holiday sweater, grab a beverage of choice and head on over to our Zoom Room here!

Adopt a Family 2019

Hi all! Here is the Adopt a Family sign up! Sign up to donate holiday gifts to a family in need! Our adopted family includes a 21-year-old mother and 3 children: 9 yo boy, 2 yo girl, and 6 month old baby girl. We need all items by Sunday, Dec. 15.

Starting our Advent Sunday School series from Octavia’s Brood with “Evidence.”

“We did it. We shifted the paradigm. We rewrote the meaning of life with our living. And this is how we did it. We let go. And then we got scared and held on and then we let go again. Of everything that would shackle us to sameness. Of our deeply held belief that our lives could be measured or disconnected from anything. We let go and re-taught ourselves to breathe the presence of the energy that we are that cannot be destroyed, but only transformed and transforming everything.”

— Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements by Walidah Imarisha, adrienne maree brown, et al.

[12/01/19]   Tomorrow begins our time of Advent.

To recover the radical nature of Advent, which is both the end and the beginning of everything, we're going to read our Bibles alongside other speculative fiction. Specifically, we are going to engage with the legacy of Octavia Butler by reading short stories influenced by her from the anthology Octavia's Brood. In the words of Walidah Imarisha, one of the editors, "Whenever we try to envision a world without war, without violence, without prisons, without capitalism, we are engaging in speculative fiction."

We remember

#TransgenderDayofRemembrance #TDOR2019

A word from Rev. Deneen Robinson, our guest speaker yesterday from The Afiya Center:
1.You must find your calling to connection in the world. Everyone has one. Once you find it, figure out what’s keeping you from it.
2.Have permeable edges. Always be open to receiving from the Divine, and prepare yourself to let go of the bullsh*t.
3.Love others.

The Afiya Center

We are so excited to have Deneen Robinson from The Afiya Center with us this morning as our guest speaker! We hope you can join us! Our mission is to serve Black women and girls by transforming their relationship with their sexual and reproductive health through addressing the consequences of reproduction oppression.

Last week we had our All Saints service, with a Eucharist feast and a time to honor our saints and those close to us who passed in this last year. Thank you to Lisa Morris Miller for our beautiful altar and to everyone who came to celebrate with us! It was a special day!

Rosetta Tharpe - Turning The Tables

Everyone seems to be catching on to our saints. A gospel superstar whose electrifying guitar playing pointed the way toward rock and roll.

[09/16/19]   Congratulations to our 2019 saints!

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela
Roberto Clemente
Shel Silverstein
Paul Wellstone
Hadewijch of Antwerp

“God saves by loving and including, not by excluding and punishing.” -Richard Rohr. This has been one of our favorite Sunday School books to date, and is full of gems like this. Where do you see examples of God’s love in the world today?

Vote for the Saints!

Congratulations to our 2019 nominees!
Victoria Woodhull
Rolihlahla (Nelson) Mandela
Shel Silverstein
Rae Files Still
Paul Wellstone
Hadewijch of Antwerp
Roberto Clemente

Voting is open until September 15, and our big presentation night is September 11 (Wednesday Dinner: Battle of the Saints)

Already know who you're voting for? Head over to Voting is open until Sunday, September 15, at midnight. We're going to try this with points. You can choose a 3 point saint, a 2 point saint, and a 1 point saint! The 5 saints with the most points will be chosen as our official Church in the Cliff saints! The nominees are Victoria Woodhull Rolihlahl...

Saint Series Submissions (Due September 1)

Nominations for our 2019 saints are due tomorrow! Who will you nominate?

#Repost @thejosiahmason
The Eucharist might be what you make of it. Whatever you believe, welcome to family brunch at @churchinthecliff. #oakcliff #family #home

This Sunday, Scott is cooking brunch and we will be singing familiar and original music at Church in the Cliff. All are welcome to join the celebration!

New billboard on Detroit’s east side: ‘Trans people are sacred’ Artist Jonah Welch has a message for Detroit: Trans people are sacred.The message sits on a billboard — Welch’s first installment — on East Seven Mile and Kempa Street in the Sherwood neighborhood, and was curated by Detroit artists Ellen Rutt, Playground Detroit, and Save Art Space.

Church in the Cliff's cover photo

Last night we had #WednesdayDinner at
In My Shoes and got to hang out with some very sweet babies and mamas. Thanks to everyone who brought food!

Church in the Cliff's cover photo

This past Sunday we had the joy of blessing Lindsey and Deborah’s upcoming union! We love you guys! #lovewins @ Church in the Cliff

Worship: Help the poor, heed the earth, welcome immigrants

I'm willing to argue about the moral issues that dominate Christian discourse these days, but there should be no disagreement on some things, especially from "Bible-believing" Christians. ~Scott Photo by Danny Fulgencio There is a moral crisis in America, but it’s not the one we most often hear about from Christian talking heads. That moral crisis is hardly mentioned in the Bible, if at all. Rather, the Bible regularly returns to a few common

Diversity Inclusion - Centers for Spiritual Living

This week at #churchinthecliff we began reading The Heart Of Christianity by Marcus J. Borg and talked about the Apostle Peter’s role in the early church. We still have some books left that you can pick up this week and join in the discussion! .
#churchish #progressivechurch #allianceofbaptists #progressivebaptists #dallaschurch #octx #oakcliff #oakcliffchurch #dallas #texas #theheartofchristianity #marcusborg #sunday #church

Love wins?

My wedding anniversary is also the anniversary of the Pulse massacre. I had some thoughts. ~Scott This past Wednesday was my twenty-sixth wedding anniversary. Three years ago, we were celebrating our twenty-third and our in-laws’ fiftieth in Hawaii when I woke up to something decidedly less celebratory. Ever since the Pulse…

Have a 'date night' with your spirituality

Scott wrote a thing! My wife and I are approaching our 26th year of marriage. Throughout that time — lean times and abundance, law school, seminary and demanding jobs — we have sustained a regular Friday date night. With few exceptions, Friday night has been the one time we set

Alliance of Baptists

#BaptistPrideLove Project

This June, many congregational partners are gearing up for Pride month celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the uprising at Stonewall and the birth of the modern LGBTQ movement. To join in the spirit of this movement, you are invited to make a gift of any amount to the Alliance in honor or memory of an LGBTQ person whose spirit breathed life and inspiration and pride into who you are. We will publish the names of donors and persons honored at the end of June. Share the story of the person who has inspired you with photos or videos on social media with #BaptistPrideLove. Happy Pride!

Make a gift here:

#alliancegaypride #baptistgaypride #rainbowbaptists #queerbaptists #thisistheGAYthelordhasmade #flamingbaptists #pride
#pridemonth #lgbtqpride #gaypride #rainbow #loveislove #equality #pride2019 #transgender #nonbinary #queer #lesbian #gay #bisexual #trans #genderfluid #lgbtq #lgbtqia #stonewall50

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1300 S Polk St.
Dallas, TX

Opening Hours

Sunday 11:00 - 12:00
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