Earlier this year, the congregation of Trinity, Newark, began the painful process of demolishing their 125-year-old sanctuary, auditorium and chapel due to structural damage. In an ongoing Connections’ series, “The Journey Toward Our Future,” the people of Trinity will share with us the story of how they came to this impossible decision and the journey to their new future as the Episcopal Church in Newark, Ohio.
Part 6: Finale
Necessity is the mother of invention. I hear this a lot, it may be true. But I also think the Holy Spirit has a lot to do with invention. When the building at Trinity, Newark, needed to come down and the congregation decided that it would continue to be a Christian presence in Newark, there was a lot of discussion about how to move forward. And a lot of uncertainty and anxiety as well.
One of the gifts of the Recasting program sponsored by the Commission on Congregational Life (COCL) was that new relationships and friendships were formed. The Rev. Joseph Kovitch from St. Matthew’s, Westerville, was the COCL liaison to Trinity. His engaging personality and his contagious optimism was immediately embraced by the people in Newark. Throw in his first hand experience of a community saying goodbye to a building and redefining purpose and mission in the neighborhood, and a partnership was unavoidable. The Spirit was surely at work, and today Fr. Joseph moves from one congregation to the other. Leadership is discerning shared gifts continually exploring collaboration. Hope abounds.
From where I sit, Trinity, Newark and St. Matthew’s, Westerville currently embrace one of the most exciting and innovative partnerships in the diocese. There is huge potential for their approach and journey into the future becoming a model and resource for others. “Our building is falling down.” “We can’t afford a full-time priest.” Well here are two congregations that faced both of those realities and are moving forward with faith and confidence…… and in some strange way both are closer to the kingdom than they could have ever imagined.
Trinity Newark and St. Matthew’s Westerville. This is a story unfolding by God’s grace, a story to tell, and a story for us all to hear.
Submitted by the Rev. Canon Jason Leo, Missioner for Congregational Vitality