In January 2017, after months of faithful and diligent visioning and discussion, our congregation approved engaging a Ministry Expansion Campaign to move Lakewood United Church of Christ into the future. This is a Leap of Faith to raise the funds necessary to pay off our mortgage and fund the hiring of a full-time associate pastor. Our goal is to build our Christian Education programming for all ages, as we believe we are called to nourish the faith development of our congregants at all ages and stages of their journey in our progressive Christian faith community. We believe we will continue to grow in our missions to the members of our church, neighborhood, country, and beyond. We have already seen the leadership building in our congregation with new interest groups forming – all will be served by additional staff and monies to increase our mission work.
Lakewood UCC began life in 1953 as the Lakewood Community Congregational Church. Thirty-five intrepid charter members started meeting in the Pastor’s basement. Back then, the area was mostly farmland, but as the city grew, the congregation grew with it. Ultimately, the church raised enough money to purchase land next to Pastor Murray’s house and build a permanent home. The church facilities grew in stages over time, with the original sanctuary becoming the Fellowship Hall (and today the Sunday School classrooms) when the new sanctuary was built in 1966.
In 2000, we initiated a capital campaign for a major renovation to make our church facilities more functional, more welcoming and inviting to the community, and more accessible to all; and we moved into our updated church home in 2003. As always, we have sought to use our facilities to follow Christ’s call to serve the community, hosting the Lakewood HeadStart program since the opening of our new facilities.
Our Church Today
Today we are a vibrant, caring, inclusive congregation committed to making disciples, making connections, and making a difference. We have dynamic worship services full of old and new music, grounded in prayer, with relevant sermons that connect with everyday life. We support and care for each other through the daily grind of modern life. We carry the best of the past with us while seeking to make a difference right now. We know that when the worship is over, the service begins.
Looking to the Future
Our open and affirming congregation is growing and is poised for the next phase of our journey together. We have seen the leadership building in our congregation with many new groups — Sacred Circles, Men’s Fellowship, Care for Creation, Small Group Ministries, growing involvement with Bible Study and Book Studies, and our wonderful YAC group. Through our recent visioning process, we have said we want to do even more: more mission and outreach, more pastoral visitation, more youth and Christian education, more adult education, and possibly even more things that we have not yet named!
To enable this growth, we must move from our historic staffing pattern of a minister and many part-time staff to a new pattern with a senior pastor, full-time associate pastor, and a remaining part-time staff for music ministry and church administration. With our major programs covered by dedicated full-time staff, we expect that the quality and variety of our programs and ministries will not only encourage and inspire our current members but also attract new members from the community.
Our goal is to raise $375,000 to pay off the mortgage while funding the full-time associate pastor position for three years and then sustainably funding the AP position into the future with the cost savings from the mortgage. We believe God’s vision for the work we can do in the future is beyond our imagining; for we know that, with God, all things are possible! If you have been moved to give to our campaign please see this Ways to Give Guide.