Fourth Fridays was recently reinstated as a sequel to Second Saturdays – as some of you may remember existed in the not so distant past. Friday January 25th marked the first Fourth Friday of the new year, and a group of CTKers met at John Harvard’s brewery in the heart of Harvard Square to catch-up, relax, and make new friends while enjoying a few local craft beers and some tasty chicken wings and truffle fries.
In the opening chapters of The Mind of the Maker, Dorothy Sayers begins her dense treatise on God and art by writing, “The characteristic common to God and man is apparently [this]: the desire and the ability to make things.” As artists in the church, my husband and I feel the essential creative connection to the God of the Bible, and believe that artist or not, art is an integral part to how Christians understand and worship their creator.
Christ the King Presbyterian Church (CTK) is a multi-site, multi-ethnic church with congregations throughout greater Boston. We seek to serve God in worship, serve one another in love, and serve our city by bearing witness to the good news about Jesus Christ in both word and deed.
During our first year at Covenant Seminary in Saint Louis, my wife, Ally, and I began to think more seriously about the ministry context that we wanted to serve in. We knew we were interested in serving in an urban, secular city, though not sure about what that might practically look like for us. In the fall of 2014, we met Bob Sawyer, the director of the Christ the King Church planting center, at a ministry lunch he hosted at Covenant. Hearing about Christ the King’s “multi-congregational” church planting approach in Boston, piqued our interest in possibility of serving in Boston.
In the fall of 2013, I moved to Somerville to serve as apprentice and Assistant Pastor at Christ the King Somerville. I had been drawn to the Boston area for ministry, having completed a summer internship with a CTK church plant during seminary. After seminary, I needed an apprenticeship to further prepare me for ministry in general, and for church planting in the area.
Boston is a long way from Sydney, Australia. When Alison and I moved here in 2015, we were hoping God would use the experience to prepare us for gospel ministry, wherever he called us. I’d come out of a downtown church and felt passionate about ministering in a post-Christian, urban context. We wanted to do our seminary training in a place that would equip us for ministry in cities like Sydney, while forcing us to grow in our ability to adapt to different cultural settings. So, we came to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and to the Boston-area.
Most parents who live in the city don’t need a reminder that it can be tough to transport, house and educate children in the city. Even more importantly, many worry that raising children in a city like Boston will deprive them of valuable spiritual resources that are often more prevalent and available in suburban settings. Christine Stone offers encouragement and hope for parents and also spreads some of the responsibility for raising spiritually healthy children to those in our church who do not have children of their own. This is a thoughtful discussion of a relevant topic—no matter what age or stage.
Christ the King Cambridge recently sent out a group of about 35 men, women and children to plant a church in the northern suburbs of Boston. This work has been prayed for and worked on for nearly a decade. Although each church plant has its own origin story, the process of finding a person to lead and a place to worship was quite a long road.
Recently, CTK Cambridge hosted a children’s ministry conference, called Established. The Established Conference is a ministry of the PCA denomination, and exists to bring pastors, parents, teachers and volunteers together to encourage and equip them to minister to the children in their congregations. Based on the promises of Psalm 78:5-7, they offer resources, instruction and discussion around how to pass along the truths of scripture to the next generation, reminding them that our worth does not lie in what we do, but who we are, as children of God.
CTK Pastor Nathan Barczi was recently awarded an Evangelical Press Association top prize for his Christianity Today article, "In the Image of Our Choosing," about his collaboration with Harvard geneticists George Church and Ting Wu to explore the ethical considerations of genetic editing.
Our move to the Boston area from Philadelphia, PA afforded us many wonderful adventures. Christ the King had been on our radar for years as we attended Lookout Mountain Pres (TN) when the church sent teams to help clean up, repair and restore the building for this new church plant in Cambridge, MA. (I had recently had twins and was unable to go, but how I wanted to!) When we relocated to the area in 2006, we were delighted to find a thriving, youthful congregation with Rick Downs and John Standridge serving as Pastors.
Fishing. Its an image that I have often reflected on these last few months. Not because I have done much of it in my life, but because what I am doing now feels so much like it. It is what Jesus called his disciples to and how he described their mission. “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19)
All of us interact with people across cultures on a regular, sometimes daily, basis. It might be someone from a different race or ethnicity, someone from a different socio-economic background, or someone from a different region of the country. Our ability to function well, or effectively, between different cultures is commonly called "cultural intelligence."
“Do you know anyone with a background in Christian Science?”
This is what I asked CTK Bob Sawyer and Omar Ortiz after they gave a presentation at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, MO. I attended their event because I have a heart for Boston. Boston houses the worldwide headquarters of Christian Science. I’m the founder and director of a ministry that is sharing the Gospel with people with a background in Christian Science, The Fellowship of Former Christian Scientists (FFCS). Providentially they had just become aware of a CTK member with a CS connection. They were interested in learning more!
What does Cambridge, MA have to do with Kerrville, TX? As someone with Texas roots who lived most of his adult life in Massachusetts, for a long time I would have said “not much.” But now having served in both places and having had that question put to me on more than one occasion, I would say “more than you might think.”
Looking back now on the day I first joined the work of Christ the King Boston, it seems random. The father of a friend of mine in Birmingham, where I was for seminary, had planted a church in New England. I didn’t know this man well, but he connected me to Rick Downs and Bob Sawyer and Logan Keck, who had just begun work church planting in JP/Roxbury. So, having never been to Boston, I arrived on the first of June 2012, in my compact car full of the possessions I needed for a summer, to do an internship with a CTK JP/Roxbury congregation that did not yet exist.
CTK women recently attended “Word-filled Women” training, hosted by the Gospel Coalition at the Chinese Evangelical Church of Boston. The aim of the conference was to encourage and support the growth of Word-based ministry among women in and through the local church, under the leadership of pastors and elders.
Christ the King is a “church for the city” seeking to serve God in worship, serve one another in love, and serve our city by bearing witness to the good news about Jesus Christ in both word and deed.
CTK Stories is exploring how these three elements are worked out on a daily basis. The first in the series was Serving Our City — A Look at the Fields Corner Business Lab. The second in the series looks at "serving God in worship" and how our worship leaders seek to create an atmosphere of worship on a weekly basis in each congregation. Lon Gipe leads worship at Grace South Shore and shares his testimony of faith, as well as his work in planning music at Grace.
It’s one of the few Albanian religious symbols that survived communism. Grandmothers dyed eggs blood red in a simple yet powerful sign of faith and rebellion against the atheism that snuffed out churches, killed priests and imams, and deprived Albanians of faith for 40 years. They did it in hiding, secretly celebrating Easter as they gave them to their grandchildren and families, risking death or interment for their families if caught.
It’s been said that Christianity turns the world upside down. It certainly turns human expectations, really human instincts, about religion or spirituality upside down. C S Lewis said somewhere that being high minded about the Christian faith would domesticate or civilize it beyond recognition. Happily Easter and the three days before are resistant to domestication, unlike Christmas.
On a weekday morning in Fields Corner, Dorchester is bustling with morning commuters walking to the T stop or sitting in traffic on Dorchester Ave. Just next to the popular homeste.stead bakery and café—a cozy spot full of beautiful pastries and plentiful coffee—you’ll find the entrance to Fields Corner Business Lab. Although the sign is unassuming, the energy and entrepreneurship that goes on inside is quite remarkable.
“PER NJE JETE ME TE MIRE” This phrase in Albanian means “for a better life”. It is the reason and hope that drives an individual or family to leave behind family, friends, culture, and language in order to start anew in a city like Boston. As they cross cultures, learn english, work furiously to pay bills and push their children in school this underlying motive moves them forward. They are working, sacrificing, persevering to obtain a better life, a life with opportunity, stability and prosperity.