I Am Planting a Church - Rev. Kay Albright
Sometimes I can hardly believe I am in the middle of planting a new congregation! God calls us to some wild and crazy things. My name is Rev. Kay Albright, and I am a second career pastor. My status for three long years was "approved for ordination pending call." It often seemed like a call would never come; little did I know what God had in store for me ...
A Multiplication Plant
I was called by First Congregational UCC to a multiplication style plant, what is now known as Bridges of Grace United Church of Christ. Bridges of Grace is still in the infancy stages of development, which I keep reminding myself and the advisory board. We have experienced the work of God in so many ways that we often forget we are not even a year old yet. God's grace has been apparent from the support of so many churches, friends, and colleagues, to our donated worship space.
When you do a church plant, the first thing you need to know is the area in which you are planting. I have spent a lot of time trying to get to know West Virginia and its people. I moved there from Central Ohio. It has been quite the culture shock for me and my partner MK. Equipped with our various life experiences, we immediately began to see how differently people talked about church and their faith. Faith is integral to this culture; it is a part of who they are as a people. The importance of church was evident each time we reached out to people in the community about Bridges of Grace. The first question always was, "When is worship?" Facebook and the website www.bridgesofgraceucc.org have been key to spreading the word thus far. People seemed to wonder, however, without worship, how is it church? Thus, the question remained, "When is worship?" "Come and See" events just did not seem to interest people in this area. Churches come together for worship.
Where Will We Worship?
I felt called by God, and the input I was getting was to begin having worship as "Come and See" events. I announced this at my local clergy group meeting. I added that I was not sure where we would worship, maybe a street corner, but it needed to happen. Two days later, I was contacted by St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Charleston, who gracefully offered us the use of their facilities, without strings or financial compensation. This past March, Bridges of Grace began having worship on the first and third Sundays of every month at 3 p.m. in St. Paul's fellowship hall.
We are still young, yet the question we now confront is, "When do we begin worshipping weekly?" As we are called to minister to the left out, pushed out, un-churched, and de-churched, we are building a strong core group. Some of them go to other churches for worship on our off weeks. Their lives are committed to God and a strong sense of need for weekly worship. Each time Bridges of Grace has stepped out on faith, God has been there. We are not even a year old; is it time to take a giant leap of faith? We know that God is Still Speaking; we just have to continue to listen!
Everyone is welcome here at Bridges of Grace United Church of Christ.