August 8, 2016
To our extended Peace Fellowship family, as well as current members and attendees:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We extend our warmest greetings to you and trust that God has been moving in your life, wherever you may be.
As you may know, Peace Fellowship is in the midst of a few significant changes, but we have been assured from Scripture and the testimony of our community’s history that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear” (Psalm 46:1-2). Indeed, from the home of our founding pastor Dennis Edwards, to the Kenilworth Recreation Center to the VFW building and the old Rollins Funeral Home, God has been with Peace Fellowship – so we know He will be with us still. We write to you today, our brothers and sisters in Christ who have sojourned with us in the past, to provide a brief report on our church and where God is calling us next.
First, in pastoral leadership: We are excited to announce that Dr. Youtha Hardman-Cromwell will be serving as our interim pastor, effective August 1. Dr. Hardman-Cromwell is a retired elder in the United Methodist Church and former professor at Wesley Theological Seminary, and has served in a variety of pastoral and church roles over the past three decades. She has filled our pulpit as a guest preacher on several Sundays over the past year and has come to know our community through that time. We believe, and she has felt, that God is calling her to shepherd Peace Fellowship through this time of transition. We also humbly ask for your prayers as options are considered and decisions are made regarding longer-term pastoral leadership.
Second, our building/meeting space: Since 2010, we have been worshipping at the former Rollins Funeral Home at 4339 Hunt Place NE. This building has been a blessing to our body in many ways, to the point that we explored purchasing the property last year. Unfortunately, due to several problems, including lack of clean title and costly renovations that would be needed to suit our long-term needs, we believe it is time to move. To our great joy, God has presented us with a new meeting space within our existing Deanwood community – IDEA Public Charter School (1027 45th St NE). We recently signed a lease to rent space from the school, which will include exclusive-use offices and meeting areas, as well as shared space for worship and Sunday school. We are most excited about how locating in a high school will create opportunities to broaden and deepen our youth ministry. The school has a large gymnasium that we can utilize, and so visioning and planning are already underway for how we can connect with young people in our community using the gym and to build relationships with IDEA’s students and staff.
Lastly, speaking of youth ministry: Starting today, Peace Fellowship will be running a 2-week Christian camp for about 25 children in grades K-5. We’re calling it “Kingdom Camp.” The curriculum will be a combination of Bible study, literacy/reading instruction, arts and crafts, and outdoor recreation. Daily lunch will be served in partnership with the city’s free summer meals program. Paid staff will include approximately eight young adult “ministry interns,” who will lead activities for the children but will also participate in a spiritual formation experience through mentorship with Peace adults and Bible study, training, service and/or discussion after camp each day. We pray that through this ministry, relationships will be nurtured and that participating children, families, young adults, staff and volunteers will come to know God and Jesus more fully. Following Kingdom Camp, we expect to find ongoing ways to connect with the children and youth who took part, as well as with additional children and youth, taking advantage of the opportunities presented by our move to IDEA. Kingdom Camp is not an end, but a means and a catalyst to pursue our mission “to make disciples of Jesus Christ, East of the River, who love God and love their neighbors.”
We hope this update has been an encouragement to you. We are grateful for your loving support and persistent prayers throughout the years; please know that they are greatly appreciated. There are many branches to the Peace Fellowship family and so whether you’ve been physically away from us for a few months or many years, you are loved and we humbly ask for your continued support and prayers as we undertake these transitions in pastoral leadership, building/meeting space, and youth ministry.
We find comfort and resolve in the lyrics of one of our body’s favorite Gospel songs, and may it also be a blessing to you: “We’ve come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord. Trusting in His Holy Word, He never failed me yet. Oh, can’t turn around, we’ve come this far by faith.”
-In and for Christ,
The Elders and Trustees of Peace Fellowship Church