February 26, 2007
Persons from five neighborhood churches gathered in Anchor Community Church’s fellowship hall on February 25.
Anchor Community Church is getting together with four other neighborhood churches for five Sunday nights during Lent. To make a difference in their lower-income neighborhood near downtown Fort Wayne, Ind., it makes strategic sense to partner with other churches, regardless of denomination, which also want make a difference.
Pastor Tim Hallman, pastor of Anchor, got things going last spring with a letter to the pastors of four nearby churches: Grace Presbyterian, Trinity United Methodist, First Mennonite, and North Highlands Church of Christ. That resulted in a joint Vacation Bible School last summer. Now things are going further with these Lenten get-togethers.
The five pastors agreed on a common format. The host church would provide a soup and dessert meal, each church would do three songs which come out of their church tradition, and the host pastor would then talk about his/her church’s history, ministries, theology, denomination, etc. In this way, the churches could learn a lot about each other.
|Pastor Tim Hallman of Anchor (right)
with Pastor Barb of Grace Presbyterian.
Anchor got things started on Sunday night, February 25. The bad weather, a big concert in town, plus the Oscars created somewhat low expectations. But those expectations were well exceeded when 75-80 people gathered in Anchor’s fellowship hall. For their three songs, the Anchor worship team did “Take My Life and Let it Be” (though they “Anchorized” by using Chris Tomlin’s version), “I’ll Fly Away,” and “This Little Light of Mine.” For the latter, when they reached the verse which said, “Shine all over Third Street” (where Anchor is located), everyone attending inserted their own church’s street. The Presbyterians, for the record, got everyone started clapping on “I’ll Fly Away.”
After Tim Hallman talked about Anchor’s history, ministries, structure, denomination, and other matters, everyone broke into smaller groups around the tables. The Anchor attendees at each table introduced themselves, told how they came to Anchor, and answered questions from the guests from other churches.
Next week we’re at North Highlands Church of Christ. I can hardly wait. In reaching our neighborhood, the most strategic relationships we can develop are not with other United Brethren churches in Fort Wayne, but with other churches, regardless of affiliation, located in our neighborhood. We’ll discover which ones share our heart for really making an impact. This can only lead to good things.
The United Brethren church began when a Mennonite and a Lutheran, discovering that they shared the same spiritual passions, declared, “We are brethren.” These Sunday night dinners fit that attitude nicely. In the process, Anchor hopes to discover the fellow churches and Christians who share their passion for making an impact in the surrounding neighborhood.