If you have been around CoaH, you may remember about two years, the elders rolled out a new vision for CoaH to go from being a neighborhood church to being a city church. The vision included who we feel like God wants us to be and how we can see that impact the larger city in the years ahead. There are six components to the vision:
Diversity | Justice | Generosity | Multiplication | Mission | Network
A church with radical diversity yet uncommon unity.
A church with a passion for gospel-justice in the city.
A church known for sacrificial generosity.
A church focused on the multiplication of disciples.
A church strategically on mission locally and globally.
A church growing as a network of neighborhood churches across Boston.
This vision shapes everything we do. We want to see CoaH become a network of neighborhood churches that impacts the city. These churches will be autonomous local churches that will ultimately have their own membership and elders. When Aaron Peters and his wife, Emily, moved up last August as our church plant resident, we thought that he might be launching our first CoaH congregation in 2019.
In the meantime, conversations began with Claude Atcho, pastor of Redeemer Church in Somerville, about the possibility of Redeemer becoming a part of CoaH’s network. The elders are excited to announce that on Easter, Redeemer will change its name and become City on a Hill Somerville. This move is a great opportunity for many reasons:
We have worked closely with Redeemer for a several years, partnered on sermon series, retreats, trainings, and more. We already have a common DNA and vision.
Redeemer is a small but healthy church plant that has 50-60 people coming each week, with 4 community groups. At the same time, they have not been able to push to the level of long-term sustainability and they have been functioning with only one staff member since they launched 4 years ago. Working together means we can share some of our experience and gifts to help them grow and make a bigger impact in Somerville.
We have 2 community groups and roughly 20-25 people who live North of the river. Now, before you feel like we are volunteering all of you for something, let me assure you that we are not. What we are asking is for you to seriously consider plugging in to CoaH Somerville for a little while to help during the transition. We need you to go serve like you do here in Brookline and help that congregation through the next few months.
Now, you likely have questions. One question may be, “How will we relate with each other?” Being a network of neighborhood churches means each congregation—Brookline and Somerville—does its own thing, with its own local direction, leadership, and preaching—but that we share and collaborate where we desire to for unity and kingdom impact. There is close alignment on theology and philosophy of ministry but lots of freedom for each church to contextualize to their neighborhood. At the same time, we will be connected in lots of ways:
Quarterly joint worship gatherings. (We’ll have one in May)
Trainings and conferences
Retreats (church, men’s, women’s, etc)
Another question you have may be, “What changes will be happening in Brookline?” There will be challenges as some volunteers and leaders move over to help in Somerville. We will all have to step up to fill the gaps until new servants and leaders are raised up. Another change is Fletcher Lang, CoaH’s executive pastor, will transition over to help in Somerville especially on Sundays (though he will still be involved some in Brookline!). Fletcher and his family are going in order to be able to help the transition, to organize, and to develop leaders.
The launch of CoaH Somerville is a truly exciting development in the life of City on a Hill! As we go from being one church to a network of two neighborhood churches, it is encouraging to think about all God will do in the years ahead. At the same time, it is challenging. We need to pull together as a congregation to pray, serve, and support each other during this transition. So, please take time as you read this to pray for CoaH Somerville, Claude/Kelsey Atcho, Fletcher/Megan, and the folks who are considering going to help (at least for a little while).
I am truly in awe of all God has and is doing in the life of our church and I am grateful for each of you as covenant members. You have heard our theme for the year as a church is Deeper: with God/with people. Let’s press into the days ahead with faith and expectation for God to move, to draw us together, to build his church, and to glorify his name across our city!
- Pastor Bland Mason