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Faith Community Church, Redeemer UMC will worship under one roof
KINGSTON — Time will tell if theirs is a match made in heaven, but two North Kitsap congregations soon will be worshiping under one roof.
Redeemer United Methodist Church, at 9900 NE Shorty Campbell Road in Kingston, will open its doors in December to Faith Community Church, formerly Faith Episcopal.
Faith, which in March combined with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has been worshiping in the Kingston VFW Hall and, most recently, in the Firehouse Theatre. The two congregations have agreed to enter into a pilot program at Redeemer’s facilities, which will offer combined Sunday School classes and separate worship services.
The program launches Dec. 2, the first Sunday of Advent, and will conclude at the end of February. At that time, the congregations will decide if the arrangement should continue on a more permanent basis.
Faith Vicar Ray Sheldon said he approached Redeemer Pastor Abby Henre in August about the possibility of sharing Redeemer’s facilities. Sheldon told Henre that Faith had been worshiping in facilities “that don’t look like or feel like a church environment.” As a result, “This has restricted our ability to attract new members and to grow,” he said.
Sheldon thought that both churches might better achieve their missional goals if they shared space together. According to Henre, as the Redeemer Church Council studied Sheldon’s request, it became clear that there were advantages to the congregations coming together.
As an example, “Faith has strong educational programming for young children, while Redeemer has a strong program for teens,” she said. Henre said the congregations already enjoy a friendly relationship. Redeemer and Faith have worked together on a variety of community projects in their support of the Kingston community dinner, Kingston Food Bank and the Adopt-A-School program with Kingston Middle School.
The two congregations organized this last endeavor two years ago to support KMS students, families and staff with school supply drives, holiday gift baskets, fund raisers for the school’s WEB (Where Everyone Belongs) sixth-grade transitional program, and other initiatives.
Sheldon and Henre have high hopes that the sharing of facilities will be beneficial to both congregations. They noted that the arrangement is not without precedent. Leadership Network Research recently reported that 6,000 Protestant congregations have joined together in the last two years, and 24,000 more are considering it.
“It is very possible that our little experiment here in North Kitsap County, which is being repeated all around us in many churches and denominations, may be the vision for the future as the church struggles to become relevant to our culture and to whole new generations,” Henre said.
Sheldon added, “We needed a place to call ‘home,’ and Redeemer reached out in Christian love to offer us one. Our congregations have had a long friendship, and I only expect that this will continue to grow and mature as time passes.”
Redeemer and Faith Sunday Schedule
9-10 a.m.: Redeemer worship service.
10-11 a.m.: Fellowship coffee time
10:10-10:50 a.m.: Sunday school for youth and children.
10:30 a.m.: Adult Bible study
11 a.m. to noon: Faith worship service
Noon: Faith fellowship/gathering time.