One Sunday evening in October 1994, a small group of people gathered for worship in a rented space in Brookline. They came to hear Rev. Terry Gyger share about the vision for a new church in Boston. Its purpose would be “to bring glory to God and joy to the city.”
Over the following months, the young congregation began to take shape. But growth was slow. When Rev. Gyger met Rev. Osni Ferreira, pastor of an existing Brazilian congregation in Cambridge, the two became fast friends. They were energized by the prospect of collaborating together to form one multi-cultural church.
A multi-cultural church
In spring of 1995, the two groups met for a joint worship service at a hotel along the Charles River in Cambridge. The sermon was preached in both English and Portuguese and the partnership was underway.
Around that time, Gyger and Ferreira came across a church building in Cambridge which was for sale. The old congregational church on Prospect Street seemed the perfect new home for Christ the King. God provided the funds, and the church purchased the property.
That July, the two groups officially merged as Christ the King Presbyterian Church, or Igreja Presbiteriana Cristo Rei in Portuguese. They worshipped together in their new building and celebrated the Lord’s faithfulness.
The church building was in a state of disrepair, so renovations soon began. Partners from around the country helped support the effort by sending funds and work crews. Life began to return to the old building, the gospel was preached from its pulpit and its sanctuary was filled with songs of praise. After the initial renovations were completed, the church was officially organized in the summer of 1996.
A church-planting church
Rather than sidestep the city, the mission of CTK was to engage the city in all of its cultural, educational and economic diversity—to build a new gospel community that would bring glory to God and joy to the city. Much of this took shape in the context of the multi-cultural community of Portuguese and English speakers which comprised the church. But from its inception, CTK also held church planting as a core component of its mission.
The earliest church mission statement described the purpose of the church “to ignite and fuel a church planting movement.” CTK followed through by planting Brazilian churches in Marlboro, Framingham and East Boston in the late 1990s. Then in 2002, CTK helped launch Citylife, a center city church in downtown Boston.
In 2006 CTK started a worship service in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester. Its objective was to reach out to the people of Dorchester in their own community, instead of asking them to cross the river to visit the church in Cambridge. A church planting pastor for Dorchester was called in the summer of 2008.
But despite significant involvement in church planting, CTK’s efforts still seemed distant from the original vision “to ignite and fuel a church planting movement.” The church’s approach to planting was more opportunistic than intentional.
A multi-congregational church
That changed in the summer of 2009. Christ the King adopted a multi-congregational model and started its Church Planting Center (CPC) to coordinate all of its church planting activities. The CPC folded in a new church plant just beginning in Newton as well as the existing church plant in Dorchester and began to work toward finding other places to plant churches throughout greater Boston.
As a result, congregations on the South Shore, in Boston’s West Roxbury and Egleston Square neighborhoods, and in Somerville have all taken shape. These are all local congregations—“kingdom communities” for their neighborhoods bringing glory to God and joy to the city.
Christ the King continues to long to see our city renewed by the gospel as people are introduced to Jesus, grow more and more like him, and gather together to worship him. We invite you to join us on the journey.