Church Plant Creates Community in the Midst of COVID
After serving for six years at Grace Anglican in Fleming Island, FL, Dan and Carrie Wolf made a radical move to Portland, Maine, the second most post-Christian city in America, in order to plant Rise Church Anglican. The church plant has been a collaborative effort between the Gulf Atlantic Diocese and the Anglican Diocese of New England. Dan has said the question people ask in Portland is not “What church should I go to?” but “Why would I go to church?” Many people don’t know anything about the Bible or God.
Last year, Dan and Carrie had been praying about how they could bless and serve their neighbors. They have two young children, and as they talked to other parents around them, they kept hearing stories about the toll that COVID was having on families–juggling work and childcare, parents and kids experiencing isolation, marriages on the rocks. As Dan and Carrie prayed, they got an idea to host a kids’ summer camp to develop new friendships, serve families, and share God’s love with their neighbors!
During the camp, Rise Church offered a coffee tent where parents could meet other parents while the kids learned new sports and developed friendships with other kids. Each day, camp counselors would talk to kids about God’s unconditional love for them, and the children also learned to encourage each other. Members of Grace Anglican in Fleming Island also went to help! On the final night they hosted a BBQ dinner where children and parents could eat together, watch a highlight reel from the week, and see a trailer for an upcoming Alpha course that Rise Church was hosting in the Fall.
The camp brought “times of refreshing” to these weary families! A few kids prayed for the first time ever that week–one child even asked God for help as his parents went through a divorce. Parents lingered over coffee and BBQ long after the events were over to continue soaking up time with new friends. One couple was able to drop their kids off at camp and go to much-needed marriage counseling.
God guided Dan and Carrie to just the right idea to serve their neighbors during COVID, opening doors to the Gospel and serving families. Rise Church will be hosting this sports camp again in a couple weeks! Families from last summer are already pre-registered. There are so many more stories we could share about this amazing church plant, including a recent man who came to Christ; but for now, please pray for God to move at camp this summer, and to continue opening doors to the Gospel!
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