About this Site

The Koine Greek word ɛκκλήσια – ecclesia in our alphabet – is found 115 times in the New Testament. Its root is the Greek verb καλɛω, which is translated “to call”, or, “to summon”. An ɛκκλήσια is a congregation or assembly of those who are called (καλɛω) out (ɛκ) . In 113 of the instances of the use of this term, the Bible in English translates ɛκκλήσια as “church”. Several languages have used ɛκκλήσια as the root from which their word for church has arisen – including iglesia in Spanish, and église in French.

This site, which takes its name from the same root, explores the life, ministry and witness of the ɛκκλήσια – the assembly of those who are called out by Jesus into the world. The authors and conversation partner often speak challenges to the witness of the church. The site also shares news not often heard of the ways the church witnesses to Jesus’ love and justice in communities and around the globe. Additionally, insight is offered about the future life of the ɛκκλήσια, and ways in which the church is changing and may change in days and years to come. We invite you to take part in these conversations, and look forward to dialogue with you.


About the Director

Cynthia Holder Rich is the Founding Director of ecclesio.com, a website that hosts conversations with scholars, pastors, activists, and leaders of the church across the world. Since its founding in 2010, ecclesio has hosted over 150 conversations on a wide-ranging group of topics facing the church, or that the church should be facing. To date, the work of over 600 authors, representing many communions and many nations, have been featured on ecclesio.

Professionally, Cynthia has served as a parish pastor, a mission co-worker, and in theological education and administration. She is the recipient of a number of research grants and is the author of three books. Her work appears often in peer-reviewed and denominational journals, in print and online.

Cynthia is ordained a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She holds an MDiv from McCormick Theological Seminary, an MCE from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and a PhD in Theology and Development from the School of Religion and Theology (SORAT) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. She holds membership in Maumee Valley Presbytery; the American Academy of Religion; and the Theological Society of South Africa.

Cynthia is involved in ongoing research on the church in Madagascar; mental health, illness, and disability; race in US society; activism and white privilege; confessional statements; and global ecumenical relationships.

Cynthia is married to the Rev. Dr. Mark Rich. Cynthia and Mark are the parents of three young adults.

Cynthia is exceedingly grateful to her son, Paul, who set up and maintains this site.