Dear Eastminster family,
We have some very exciting news to share. Your elders voted unanimously to invite our friends Pastor John Ronel and the Oaks Baptist Fellowship to be part of the Eastminster family on Sunday mornings by holding their Swahili worship service on our campus. During the last two years, many of you have served our friends from the Oaks, who are former refugees, now immigrants from the Democratic Republic of the Congo assimilating to life in America. We are thrilled at the way the Lord has orchestrated this partnership and allowed us to share the resource he has granted us - our physical campus - to serve kingdom purposes and bless these brothers and sisters in Christ.
Our partnership with the Oaks will begin on Sunday, April 29. At 9:30 a.m. the Congolese congregation is invited to join our Sunday morning Grow Groups or take part in an on-campus ESL class. The children will join Sunday kids classes during that hour. The Swahili service will take place at 11 a.m. in the Student Center.
I believe this partnership is what the heart of the gospel looks like. Jesus said, “'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” We have been given the opportunity to love, serve and open our “home” to the least of these. It just sounds like Jesus. It is an extension of the mission and vision he has given us. This is Eastminster on our best day – when we do not exist for ourselves but for the building of the kingdom so that every tribe, tongue and nation will enjoy the fullness of knowing, loving and becoming like Jesus.
Similar to our 11 a.m. service, the Swahili service will include special programming for the kids after they are dismissed part way through worship. Our high school students will help with this, but we are looking for a lead teacher to plan lessons and activities. If you’re interested in serving in this way, please contact Deb Hilscher at email@example.com.
Parents, look for an email from Mary Stephens regarding details on how we will welcome the Oaks kids to our Sunday morning classes.
We understand this will be a growing and learning process for us all as we navigate having two congregations on one campus. If you have any questions, please contact Local/US Missions lead elder Deb Hilscher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How big is the Oaks congregation?
There are 27 families, with 50 adults and 99 children under 17. Sunday attendance is usually 25-30 adults and 30-40 children.
What is the service like?
The service lasts for about two hours and is in Swahili and English. Come and join anytime!
Why the move to Eastminster?
The congregation currently meets in the afternoon as their current location doesn’t have the space to accommodate a Sunday morning meeting time. The congregation would prefer to worship in the morning so they have the afternoon for family time and to prepare for the work week.
Does the congregation speak English?
Most congregants speak Swahili, French, Kibembe and are now learning English. The kids are in school and becoming very proficient in English. If you see a Congolese friend in the hallway be sure to say hello! They are always looking for ways to practice their English, and the kids can probably help translate.