A Remarkable Story of Two Churches Coming Together
It all started in 2016, when we launched Trinity Anglican with a vision and lots of prayer. The vision led us to South Lafayette, a growing part of the city. Founding Rector Peter Johnston wrote e-mails to area pastors, hoping to build relationships and perhaps find a location for worship. Within five minutes of meeting Pastor Bob Ogle at Trinity Presbyterian, it became clear God was doing something special.
Bob explained that he had first visited Lafayette in 1983, when his Youth-With-A-Mission (YWAM) bus, full of kids on a mission trip, broke down on I-10. Then local church planter Martyn Minns came to their rescue, and a few years later Bob became the Missions Pastor at Martyn’s church. At this point, Peter became excited, for he knew Martyn Minns. Years after leaving Lafayette, Martyn became an Anglican Bishop, and only weeks before Peter had spoken to Martyn by phone about his time in Lafayette. Meeting Bob completed the circle. At the end of that first meeting, Bob said to Peter, “Martyn gave me my start – I’m going to give you yours.
What followed was a church partnership that exceeded everyone’s expectations. Trinity Anglican worshipped at 9AM, and Trinity Presbyterian at 11AM. We renovated an old copy-room so that Peter could have an office in the church. We began to work together on mission and outreach (and mowing the lawn). And the partnership proved to be good soil for growth. The Trinity Anglican core membership went from 10, to 25, to 40, and then to 50. As we grew, we came to recognize the need for a later Sunday service, and we began to imagine the possibility of our churches merging together.
There were, however, two obstacles to any merger. First, would the congregations be willing to come together? Second, would the Presbytery allow it? At multiple points along the way, we thought we were at an impasse, and began to prepare ourselves for the churches to go separate ways. But at every stage, in many different individuals, God moved hearts and changed decisions, preparing the way for unity in our churches. And so in the end the congregations came to an agreement, the Presbytery blessed the merger by offering a lease-purchase arrangement on the property, and the two churches merged on October 1st, 2018.
Now we are one church, operating two services, united in mission and excited to grow together. Our story made the news, and David Roseberry of LeaderWorks recorded an interview (see below). In hindsight, we can see that God was working to bring us together the whole time. Thanks be to God for leading the way!