New Leadership

The Project F-M is excited to announce that it has hired a new director and mission developer!

Please join us in welcoming the Rev. Kristina Waters. She will begin Oct. 15.

The Project F-M Celebrates Pride

SS2M-Yes!The Project F-M is excited to be a part of Fargo-Moorhead Pride again this year. The F-M Pride Interfaith Service, Sounds Sacred (to me): Yes!, will be at the historic Fargo Theatre on Sunday, Aug. 17, with a reception starting at noon and the service at 12:30. It will end by 1:30 in time for the parade at 2 p.m.

Sounds Sacred (to me) is a monthly service of the Project F-M that uses poetry, art and live music to explore a sacred theme. This service reminds us that even when we experience being outcast, we hear “Yes!” to our unique selves, allowing us to say “Yes!” with our whole selves back to the world.

Come as you are.
All people of all faiths and non-faiths are welcome.
Participate at your own pace.
Because sometimes it is all you can do to just be there.

This is a free event sponsored by the Pride Collective and Community Center, the Project F-M, the Forum on Faith and Life of Concordia College, Unitarian Universalist Church of Fargo-Moorhead, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church: Fargo, the Gathering and First Congregational United Church of Christ, Moorhead.

Fargo-Moorhead Pride, which celebrates sexual diversity and gender variance, is Aug. 14-17, 2014. With celebrations like this, we work together to affirm all people, end discrimination and build community for everyone. For more information about the weekend, visit the F-M Pride website.

We hope you join us for this special event and check out some of our other gatherings as well.

The Project F-M is a community of faith and doubt making space with conversation and exploration.


Do you know someone with leadership abilities and an understanding of diversity? The Project F-M is currently seeking a director/mission developer to lead its ministry in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Ideal candidates will possess a passion for emerging ministries and be skilled communicators with those not connected to a faith community, as well as congregational leaders of all kinds.

The Project F-M director will be responsible for articulating and implementing the ministry’s mission and purpose, that is a community of faith and doubt making space with conversation and exploration. Cultivate relationships with organizations, individuals, churches, particularly the ELCA churches of Fargo and Moorhead for support and partnership. Provide primary leadership with the board of directors. In the short-term, oversee the rebranding of the ministry’s name from The Project F-M to Counter-Space. This is a part-time call. (Rostered leaders interested in other part-time calls should contact Bishop-Elect Terry Brandt at The salary is negotiable.

Read the full position description.


WTF? (Where’s The Faith?) Book Club

The WTF? (Where’s The Faith?) Book Club is beginning a new book: “The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible” by A.J. Jacobs.

A New York Times bestseller, “The Year of Living Biblically” is about one man’s attempt to follow every rule in the Bible as literally as possible.

A few places this book is available:
Amazon – $14.40 Paperback and $10.32 Kindle edition
Barnes & Noble – $14.63 Paperback and $11.66 Nook edition
Local library – free!

A.J. Jacobs, author of the bestseller “The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World,” is editor at large at Esquire magazine, a commentator on NPR and a columnist for Mental Floss magazine. He has given several TED talks, including one on his year of living biblically.

On our first night (April 28), we will discuss the Introduction and Month One (about 40 pages). Please join us to talk about the book (even if you don’t finish all 40 pages), other topics that may come to light during the discussion, or just to find out what The Project F-M is all about.

The WTF? (Where’s The Faith?) Book Club meets the second and fourth Monday night at 7:30 p.m. in the Spirit Room, located up the stairs next to Moxie Java on Broadway in Fargo.

All are welcome to join us each book club gathering or whenever you are available. Invite a friend!


Sunday, March 9 at 5 PM: Ashes to Ashes

Sounds Sacred (to me): Ashes to Ashes is this Sunday evening, a service of poetry and music centered around the Christian season of Lent, with a reminder that we are not God, we are only human; we are dust and to dust we shall return. This gathering will  explore the themes of Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent: that we are mortal, that we are broken and in need of forgiveness.

Come and participate in whatever ways make the most sense for you. There will be paper and pens at tables for you to reflect by drawing or writing down words if you want. There will be an open space time when you can plant a seed, receive communion, offer gratitude, receive ashes on your forehead or just sit and reflect in your own space.

This will be my final Sounds Sacred (to me) in this space before I head off to California. It has been a lovely space for me to participate in, and I hope that it has been for others too–and that however it continues into the future, it opens space for people to encounter something that sounds sacred to them.

Holly Johnson

Director of The Project F-M

Leadership Transitions at The Project F-M

With mixed emotions I write today to tell you I have resigns from my role as the Director of The Project F-M. I have accepted a position at the seminary I attended, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, CA as the Director of Admissions. I start in April, so my last day with The Project F-M will be March 24.

It is with mixed emotions because I have loved lots of the work that I  do with The Project F-M. I get to have great conversations with fantastic people asking great questions as we live in this mystery together, exploring through conversation and experience.

It has, however, been a half-time position, and I will be grateful to be called to one position. And, California doesn’t hurt on the first of March, when it feels like thirty-five below ZERO outside.

In this new job I will be helping people identify their call and navigate the choices around theological education, along with helping the seminary think about the future of the church and theological education. I believe that my experience with The Project F-M will be good background for both of these things, and I thank you all for the time we had together.

The Board of The Project F-M (which includes several participants) is working on the transition, and will put together a team to select a new director. In the meantime, many participants are stepping up to leadership so that the programming of The Project F-M will continue. With people stepping up to leadership, this community of faith and doubt may move into the future with a stronger connection to each other. That is my hope.

I take with me many wonderful memories, learnings, blessings, and a brand new Winter coat that I will use well in the next 24 days before it goes into storage…

Holly Johnson – Director of The Project F-M

PS. But see you Monday night at Theology Pub! My memories are not done yet!


Sounds Sacred (to me): Where’s The Love

SS2M-Where's the Love? PUBSunday, February 9, 5 pm at Studio 222

Sounds Sacred (to me) is a service/reflection/gathering/music-poetry thing that happens every Second Sunday at Studio 222 (this really awesome space that’s down a long hallway right in between Atomic Coffee and Dempsey’s on Broadway).

This month, because it is Valentine’s Day, our reflection is called “Where’s The Love.” It has nothing to do with candy hearts, or bears or chocolate (this is a list of things I heard from someone as ‘acceptable’ Valentine’s day gifts. For the record, I personally have no desire for a stuffed bear).

Instead, it is a reflection on the issues that plague our world, and asks the question, “where is the love?” and finds hope and some answers in knowing we are not alone in our concerns or in our ability to act.

Valentine’s day is cheesy (to me). Sounds Sacred (to me) is not. Except for maybe this one time, because during this month you will hear what I promise is the cheesiest song that has ever, and probably will ever be done at a Sounds Sacred (to me) event. And it will be awesome. And we hope you’ll sing along. But we don’t require it.

Live music provided by Michael Larson, Matt Bishop, Chad Svendby, John Schmidt, and John Juhl offering the music of Jack Johnson, Black-eyed Peas, U2, Marvin Gaye, Joshua James, Willy Mason and more. Poetry will be read from Marge Piercy, Wendell Berry, Adrienne Rich, and more.
All are welcome.
Participate at your own pace.
Because sometimes it is all you can do to just be there.


Holly Johnson,
Director of The Project F-M

A community of Faith and Doubt, making space for people to love God, and love their neighbor, by cultivating an open-minded, curious faith.

Sounds Sacred (to me): Resolution

January 12, 5 PM at Studio 222 on Broadway

The beginning of a new year is here.

With it comes another opportunity to consider the past, put it behind us and move into the future.

Art, poetry, and live music will guide our reflection. Come and immerse yourself in image, word, sound, art, and a God who is making all things new.
All are welcome.
Participate at your own pace.
Because sometimes it is all you can do to just be there.

Live music provided by Michael Larson, Matt Bishop, Chad Svendby, John Schmidt, and John Juhl offering the music of people like Florence and The Machine, Mumford & Sons, Cloud Cult, Sia, Brandi Carlile, Joshua Radin and more.

Poetry will be read from poets like Mary Oliver, William Stafford, Denise Levertov, and more.

Sounds Sacred (to me) happens on the second Sunday of every month at 5 PM @Studio 222, down the long hallway next to Atomic Coffee on Broadway.

What’s in a Name?

The Project F-M is considering a name change. Why would we do such a thing, when it requires changing all of our social media and trying to rebrand who we are and make sure all of our friends are still connected to us? Its a good question.

When The Project F-M began, the folks who met around the table initially came up with the name. Think about how hard it is to name something before you know what it is. These folks decided to call it The Project F-M, knowing it would work for now, and that someday, when this nebulous “thing” became an actual “thing,” the people involved at that time could name it.

I think we’ve outgrown that nebulous stage, so it is time to come up with an actual name. The Project F-M tells you nothing about what we are and do. If you are from this area, you recognize the letters “F-M” are short for “Fargo-Moorhead.” That tells you the location—but only if you are already from here. Outside of the area, people sometimes say to me, “so, F-M…is that a radio station? And what is the project about?”

We are at a point of being an actual thing, with actual people who have a pretty good sense of who they are and why they gather. We’ve put together a survey, asking participants to weigh in on what they think The Project F-M is, and what words make sense to them as descriptors. From those surveys (if you are a participant and want to take the survey, here it is: we will come up with something that resonates with what we have become and what we are about.

Stay tuned; a name will be given soon and we will let the world know!

Holly Johnson,
Director of The Project F-M

We have values. Here is what they look like…

The Project F-M has five values listed that tell something about who we are. If you want to know what The Project F-M is like, I offer these stories from the last year of how these values play out in the life of our faith community.

Authenticity: At The Project F-M people share their faith and life. Two participants lost their homes for various reasons. Several more shared of job loss. One talked about what it is like for him to be on the autism spectrum. Another shared his recent struggles with depression. Someone gave a talk about the grace and call he experienced in coming out as a gay man. Everyone shares their faith and life struggles, and we all grow from hearing about people’s lived experiences.

Seeing the gray: Many people in the demographic The Project F-M serves are disinterested in absolutes, preferring the gray area in between extremes. One participant calls himself an atheist, but says “my head tells me there is no God, but my heart tells me something different.” Another participant is a member of a local congregation, but has questions about some issues and wants a safe space to explore those questions. The Project F-M allows her that safe space. In fact, there are no issues that are taboo in our conversation. People respectfully work out their thoughts and beliefs on a wide range of hot-button issues, from gun-control, abortion and homosexuality to hermeneutics, theism, and forgiveness.

Community: One college student active in our ministry said after a Theology Pub one time, “I just love everyone in this group. They’re all so interesting.” And it is true–the common ground we all share is a desire to engage the questions, but otherwise it is a fairly eclectic group that might not have opportunity to meet otherwise. I knew we had developed “community” when I learned that the two people who lost their places to live were invited to stay with other Project participants for awhile. Not only did they feel safe sharing their experience with potential homelessness, but instead of hearing an inauthentic “that’s too bad” what they heard was “you can stay with us for awhile.”

Open to Diversity: A new person one night once asked, “We’re all Christian here, right?” and he got a fairly resounding “no” from around the table. He had missed the introduction that might have explained that. Many participants are Christian, but all of them crave conversation and community with people from different backgrounds and beliefs. Our most highly attended Theology Pub topic of the year was with guest speaker Rabbi Janeen Kobrinsky, on “What I wish people knew about Judaism.” Their only negative feedback on it was that they wish there was Jewish voice at ALL the theology pubs.

Grounded in Christ: This year, we began a worship service of sorts. The gospel (good news of Christ) is proclaimed (announced) in various diffused ways. We call this service “Sounds Sacred (to me).” Through poetry, song, art, presence and bread and wine people might experience Christ as present in their lives. At first, we didn’t know what would happen to our diverse community if we introduced communion. But it is a table set by Christ, “shed for you and for all people,” and so I tell them that. Then we serve to anyone who comes forward. Christ made space for everyone at the table–drinkers, doubters, liars and searchers. Pious and un-pious. Most of us fall into all of those category at various times in our lives. We trust the grace announced at the table for all–grace that might be felt even if you choose to not participate, and we find our grounding there.

Because like our posters always say, “Participate at your own pace. Because sometimes, it’s all you can do to just be there.”