Kings Cross and Second Baptist churches will be uniting their parishes into one entity after a year of careful deliberation between pastoral leaders and members.
The news comes after pastors Max Begley of Second Baptist and Sam Andres of Kings Cross both realized the needs of their congregations could be met and fulfilled by joining together.
According to Andres, the plans to combine the two parishes has been on the table since a Defiance area pastor fellowship meeting that took place in October 2021.
The two churches originally had nothing to do with one another, Begley revealed. His church was a part of the Southern Baptist Convention and Kings Cross was part of the Fellowship of Evangelical Churches (FCC). However, through the clergy fellowship group, the two have fostered a relationship that has been nearly five-years strong.
A year ago, however, Begley was looking to retire and the congregation needed a pastor. However, this proved to be a difficult task to complete. According to Begley, there is a shortage of pastors across America in all-denominations. A pastor search committee was created, but finding a pastor that could transition well into the congregation proved to be tough.
Rather than turning to a stranger that looked good on paper, Begley turned to Andres to take in his flock. Or rather, it was Andres who approached him.
Kings Cross Church has been in existence for nine years and in those nine years, they have been something akin to nomads. The church never had a building to call their own, instead migrating from place to place. They have held services at Defiance College, the Stroede Center, Independence Dam and now in the YMCA.
Andres and Begley could see that they had a lot more in common rather than different.
“We came to an increasing realization that on all of the principles of the faith, we agree. On all the issues of doctrines and teachings and scripture, we agree on those things. There are some minor ways that we have been practicing that principle differently, but we just came to a point ... the minor differences, we can work out,” Andres elaborated.
With that said, both pastors were favorable toward a merger and believed they could be better together. The people of Kings Cross would finally have a permanent place to worship and Second Baptist would have a full-time pastoral leader.
“We knew Sam. Having Sam as our pastor removed a lot of risk for us,” Begley divulged, expressing how happy he was that Andres approached him to merge.
The two pastors did not make this decision alone, however. They involved their members as much as possible. Meetings were held, community meals organized and polls were taken. Second Baptist joined Kings Cross for services a number of times as well. It seemed that the majority responded positively towards unification, reported Begley and Andres.
There was also the benefit of creating a multi-generational congregation — something that has been in decline for churches for some time. The Kings Cross congregation had the appeal of young families and Second Baptist had an aging congregation that had more time and capability to do volunteer work.
A vote was held in September to merge and the two churches have officially joined under one name — Kings Cross. Their last service at the YMCA will be this Sunday and the first service in the Second Baptist Church building at 1945 E. Second St. will be Dec. 4 at 10 a.m.
“I am hoping this is an expression of unity and the body of Christ in a time when there is much division in our world, in a time when partisan politics are so ugly. This can be a little oasis of the unity of the church of Jesus Christ,” Andres imparted.
“Churches are not always just dividing, sometimes they are uniting,” he added.