About the Organization

The Underground Railroad is a network of Underground ministries (reaching out to the Alternative sub-cultures) who have banded together for fellowship, encouragement and to increase the effectiveness of their ministry to those who are transient and falling through the cracks.

Further Defining the UR

Several years ago when Bethany Weber, Trevor Macpherson and I decided to gather the alternative/underground ministry tribe together at Cornerstone we had no idea what would happen. It was a wonderful experience and the U.R. seems to have taken on a life of it's own. As it grows, I believe that we need to continually define what it is so that everyone is on the same page.

The UR is Not Another Denomination

Our purpose was never to form an exclusive club that creates an us-verses-them mentality. We simply wanted to bring everyone together for idea exchanges, ministry, fellowship and the formation of new friendships. There is no fence being built to keep people in or out. Alternative people by nature are fiercely independent and need the freedom to be individuals. I view it as similar to someone stringing telephone lines to cities that are not aware of each other. Communication is opened, but each city retains it's particular personality.

The UR Structure is Not Corporate

Each of us has certain gifts and abilities. I have noticed a surge of the computer literate UR people using their skills for web sites, mailing lists, etc. There was no plan, it just spontaneously happened as the need arose to do it.

The free flow of ideas was born out of a community spirit. As we grow, the need to stay in touch with each other is vital. We are a group of friends with common interests, not a religious club. Christianity is already watered down by too much structure that closes off the creative contributions.

There is No UR Doctrine

Our common bond is Christ. We all approach our worship study, praise and outreach in different ways. We will not agree on every issue. God has given us the Holy Spirit, the Bible and our conscience to guide us. If one of us is in obvious error, feel free to bring it to our attention. But if the offense is simply a matter of personal taste or interpretation, then let love rule.

We Are a Family of Outcasts

The reason we have all found each other is because most of us have been rejected by the mainstream corporate church because of the way we look, the music and art we like and our sense of adventure. I recently met with Stephen Knight, Matt and his wife and three other U.R. friends on the floor of the Mall of America. We sat by Lego Land while my kids played. We were a mix of those with tattoos, spiked hair, body piercing, tie-dye and faded jeans. Our two hours together brought a sense of unity. We had "church" in a mall. I felt a tremendous sense of responsibility to my brothers and sisters there to try to stay in contact with them and to pray for their needs.

We all have our local churches that we go to. The UR does not replace them. This is more of an international gathering of the tribes. It's hard to pull together people in Europe, Canada and the USA, but we will make the effort. We need each other as we attempt to take the Gospel in relevant ways to a hurting world.

Yes, we will make mistakes because we are human, so please be patient as we grow. My personal agenda is that I love to see other ministries operate so that I can learn from what they are doing. The more of you I meet the more I see how God has knitted us together in very unique ways. Your insights, words, songs, art, zines, compassion and energy don't just affect the non-believers, they help all of us to become better people.

by Steve M (Beauty for Ashes & Outcast Press)

The Underground Railroad is not a ministry in itself, but a Coalition of Underground Ministries, whose primary goal is as a network to more effectively minister to the very transient underground sub-culture in the many different cities across Canada and the US.

A side benefit is mutual encouragement and learning from one another. Since our focus is around ministry to a certain group of people, we do not have a common theological position.

Our attitude is: In the essentials: unity, In all the rest: Grace and love.

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