-GAINS & GLEANINGS-
By J. Hogan
In the founding papers for Faithbridge Community Church, it says:
We believe that Jesus’ prayer (John 17) for the believers “that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You” longs for community, fellowship, love and labor alongside one another, and thus, we commit to supporting and working alongside other local churches and local ministries in the mission field as an expression of that cooperation and unity.
On Aug. 13, the McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation allowed us to use the lot they own next to the Roxian Theatre to continue to live that out.
That’s important. For centuries the church, being made up of humans who blow it like everyone else, has blown the unity thing. Churches have viewed one another as competition, argued over ancillary and even petty things, and allowed envy and man-made barriers to keep them from cooperating.
It has harmed the mission of the broader, worldwide church – what the Bible calls the Bride of Christ – for all that time.
We’re not in competition. We’re family. Small differences in doctrine and theology might reasonably make it necessary for us to have separate churches, but they certainly shouldn’t cause us to refuse to support and cooperate with one another in some ways – especially in light of Jesus himself praying that we would have unity!
So how did we see that lived out on Aug. 13? Faithbridge arranged for a semi truck flatbed to be brought down to provide a platform for a stage.
Hollowood Music & Sound loaned us some sound system equipment and we brought the sizable Faithbridge Worship team down to lead the gathered through three sets of worship music as we praised God together.
We set up canopies for ministries to share their information, handed out 500 hot dogs, raffled off $500 and shared information about Lifewise Academy, with whom we are setting up to partner with Sto-Rox School District to invest in students.
Between the sets of musical praise, we had three speakers.
Rev. Jay Freudenberg from First Baptist Church – our next door neighbors across the street from Sto-Rox Jr./Sr. High School spoke first, and it was a blessing to hear what was on his heart as he spoke about trading shame for hope.
Next up was Rev. Micheal Murray from Second Baptist Church, who brought a passionate word about the hope we find in Christ.
To close out the speaking, Rev. Vince Moye from Pneuma Worship Center gave a fiery message about people’s purpose in Christ.
All three preachers did great, and represented their churches well. Throughout the event, the day’s master of ceremonies, Sam Miller, one of the ministers at Faithbridge made a point of encouraging the folks in attendance to visit these pastor’s churches.
To close out the event, we all gathered together to pray for the community, then sang through a song that resonates with meaning in the sometimes tough setting of McKees Rocks – Darrell Evan’s “Trading My Sorrows,” which declares “I’m laying them (sorrows) down for the joy of the Lord.”
It was a beautiful day with fine weather, and it was a real blessing to us all.
We’re grateful to pastors Freudenberg, Murray and Moye for their willingness to use their gifts so, and glad to work alongside them.
Of course we’re glad to be around them.
Rev. James Hogan is a native of Stowe Township and serves as pastor of Faithbridge Community Church in McKees Rocks.