what is goatville?

We are a community where:

·   We are safe to be goats -

While many of us might speak of grace and freedom, it seems few really experience it in our personal assurance with God or acceptance in Christian communities. Our prayer is to be set free from the fear of condemnation and rejection such that where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more (Rom 5:20). We envision a community where the gospel creates an entirely new self-image. A community where it is safe to be more flawed than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared to hope—at the same time!  We believe that Christ centered grace is not just the A-B-C’s but the A-to-Z’s of the Christian life. Where the gospel is not just the way to enter life with God, but is the way to address every problem and is the way to grow at every step. We are a community of grace because Christ makes up for our sin as our “lamb without blemish,” a lamb that was once foreshadowed as coming from “the sheep and the goats” (Ex. 12:5).  


·   We are in search of total Christ -  

Is it too much to want all of Him?   Is it naïve to expect that we can transcend the history of the “either/or” pendulum swings in Christian spirituality?   As the “Word became Flesh and tabernacled among us” (Jn 1:14), we seek the holistic presence of Christ that is both our divine principle of faith and practice and our divine presence in communion within our human experience. We desire Christ to be our prophet as we encounter him through his living Word.   But we also desire Christ to be our priest as we are united to him through his sacramental presence in worship.  And yet still, we desire Christ to be our King as we are shepherded by him into a mercy-giving community. We are a church-in-process hoping for greater things in the experience of total Christ the fullness of him who fills all in all! (Eph 1:22-23) 


·   We love our city, all of it!

In Christ and in the city, we are urban-facing if not face transcending.  We envision a community that will look, feel, taste and sound like urban New Haven. But we will seek to do this in a way that is both directed by Christ our Head from the transcendent context of our city in heaven and “flesh out” in the particular context of our local city on earth.   In Christ, we believe God shows no partiality with regard to town-gown, rich-poor, black-white-brown, red-blue, male-female, boss-employee… for in Christ, there is no distinction! (Rom. 3:22) It is our ambition to be grounded in the overwhelming grace of the gospel as it transforms us our city, and our world!


*Goatville is the name acquired by a portion of what is today known as the East Rock neighborhood in the 1880s because of the number of goats who broke free from their fences (as goats tend to do) and wandered the neighborhood.  We adopted the name because that is where this community was born; we began as a community group meeting in the homes of people living in Goatville.  We’ve come to love the name, not only for its quirky sound, but for the imagery it evokes, the rural within the urban, the outsider brought within.  In fact, this building, which for a while bore the nickname “the gate house,” did so because it stood at the intersection of rural and urban New Haven.  The Goatville service is seeking to bring those who feel outside of the church community into her midst in a way that expresses who they are.

an exciting time

we have begun meeting publicly, and it is indeed an exciting time!  it is exciting to be a part of an enthusiastic community, exciting to worship God together as one, and exciting to explore the wonders of the gospel together.

come and join with us! we’re meeting in the basement of Christ Presbyterian Church for now, Sundays at 4:30. And our small group meets there Tuesdays at 7.

just to give a taste….Sundays we have the opportunity and privilege to quite literally “do” the gospel. We will be encountering an awesome and majestic God through music and Scripture, receiving God’s word to us as it is explained by the preacher, and experiencing the unending grace of Christ as he allows us to be real and vulnerable during a time of confession and unites us to one another and himself through the eucharist. By no worth or idea of our own, but God’s initiative, we get to meet and be transformed by the total Christ.

i hope to post more regularly about what we are discussing at Goatville, so here’s from this week’s…..

we got to study Genesis 1:1-2:3 together this week, and it was incredible! the text is so rich - the science debates on both sides miss the whole point!  this is about revealing and celebrating the God of Israel, over against the Babylonian and Egyptian gods that the context of the original writing would have been concerned with. rather than having to win a momentous battle to create, or even begrudgingly creating humans as an afterthought or punishment or slave of the gods, like so many of the ancient near eastern myths describe, Genesis poetically portrays a God who is calmly in control, creating all things without opposition, and asserting his power over the oppressive false idols and gods of the time (i.e. the Sun god, Leviathan, etc.). the entire passage flows with intentional rhythm, which is best grasped when you read it all at once. moreover, the natural world and humanity in general is not fodder for the gods, but is ‘very good’ and all has a distinct purpose in God’s world. what an incredible source of true peace and rest! and to think that we get caught up in debating creationism vs. evolution!  there are real reasons to think that that debate is totally anachronistic and unimportant to the main thrust of the text.  let’s rather explore what it would look like to submit to and worship the God who reigns in power and might as described here!  it can be very liberating and intriguing to come to the Bible without our preconceptions and see what it has to say for itself. hopefully we can keep that as our goal every week!

the discussion surrounding what this really means for our lives was a special one to be a part of and i look forward to growing deeper together as we continue our study of Genesis.


photos from our third tastings concert at Artspace.  it was a real joy

tasting concerts

what if?

what if our community could incorporate everything about our tastings into discovering God? the beautiful and artistic feel of improv, the contemplative joy of wine-glass music and acoustic guitars, the authentic celebration of a rock concert at a bar - what if all of that could be become a part of something bigger than all of us? real service, real friendship, real love.  something in new haven, for new haven.  we need more dreamers

Goatville’s first event

We were privileged to kick off our series in March at the new Outer Space - http://www.theouterspace.net/ - which happened to be their first night serving alcohol!  Mon Monarch, with CT troubadour Chuck Costa, gave a great concert.  How can this atmosphere and culture become part of our spiritual community?

Third Tasting Concert

check out Artspace - http://artspacenh.org/

They provided a beautiful space for our last concert this spring - great local art, local coffee from Willoughby’s, and improv with Robert Messore, Nathan Bontrager, Colin Meyer, and Junius Johnson.  We’ve loved exploring New Haven!