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Building Neighborhood Connections in Boston

Building Neighborhood Connections in Boston
Phil Earley, a member of the core planting team for Resurrection Church, put out the welcome sign Sept. 8.

Leading up to its first official worship service Sept. 8, 2019, and in the months following, the emerging Christian Reformed congregation Resurrection Church in Boston, Mass., has been focused on its neighborhood. The congregation of about 20 core members has a Neighborhood Connections Team and is joining other organizations working toward God’s kingdom in their city.

“We are outwardly focused,” said Justin Ruddy, pastor at Resurrection. “We keep our internal programs pretty lean so we can be more engaged in the neighborhood. We want to live life with God for our neighborhood.”

For example, in the warmer months, the church set up a table every week at the nearby subway station, and passed out popsicles, water, and had games for families to play. At Thanksgiving, Resurrection Church partnered with Crossroads Family Shelter to deliver Thanksgiving dinners, and on Christmas Eve, Resurrection held a songs and carols service in the East Boston Community Soup kitchen. The church also works with their local civil beautification association to work on community projects.

“We want to get people involved in what already exists,” Ruddy explained.

Resurrection Church is a church plant whose parent church is The River Community Church in Douglas, Mass. Bruce Dykstra is pastor at The River. “We helped them build a relationship with Classis Atlantic Northeast and the classis’ churches through meetings, commissioned pastor process, as well as financial support and resources like people, networks, and prayer.”

Ruddy said that one of the unique things they learned from The River was hosting a time of open prayer at each service—a practice Resurrection does now, too. In prayer, the congregation considers the questions: What is God doing? Where are we rejoicing? Where do we need God to meet us? “It opens up space to pray for the neighborhood.”

Resurrection Church is a partner with Resonate Global Mission. Its current goal, said Ruddy, is “to deepen existing relationships and align our church calendar with the neighborhood calendar,” noting: “Winter is a bit of a dormant season here in New England, so we're gearing up for spring and summer and all the relationship building opportunities that they present.”

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