Reverends Cynthia and Ellis Brust greet parishioners at their new Church of the Apostles home at The Martin Event Center. Photos by Bill Rankin.
New Martin City Church Looks Forward to Being Part of Community
By Kathy Feist
The Church of the Apostles of Kansas City has moved into the site of Martin City’s very first church built at 135th & Holmes Rd. The old United Methodist Church was built to serve as a center for community in 1890. (It was later rebuilt after the tornado in 1957.) Like the first budding congregation there, the Church of the Apostles is all about creating community.
Church of the Apostles, a traditional Celtic/Anglican church, welcomes the community to their services at the former church, now called The Martin Event Space, on Sundays at 10:15 a.m. and Bible Study on Wednesdays at 6:15 p.m.
“All churches say they are ‘warm and friendly,’” says Rev. Cynthia Brust who along with her husband Rev. Ellis Brust are pastors of the church. “But we are intentional on having fellowship.”
The Church of the Apostles began two years ago in the Brust’s basement at their home in Olathe before moving to Rockhurst High School, 9301 State Line Rd. In that time they have attracted about 60 members from the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Due to approaching renovations at the high school, the Brusts were forced to look for a new church facility. They fell in love with Martin City and its community and chose it to be their new home. Their first service here was Easter, April 16.
The Brusts hope as their church family grows, they will become more involved in and support the Martin City community. “I believe ‘A rising tide lifts every ship,’” quotes Ellis.
Creating A Tide of Fellowship
“The reason people stay in churches is the personal attention,” says Cynthia.
The Brusts together exude a warm and welcoming personality, with Cynthia being the more talkative of the two and Ellis being the more studious. It’s easy to see how a new member could easily feel at home.
“We feel you can belong before you believe,” explains Cynthia. “You can come here with your zits and problems and this church still accepts you.”
They incorporate what they call “The Ten Experience.” “We encourage new members to hang out for 10 things so they can really get a feel of whether to do life with us forever,” said Cynthia. This can include Bible Study, Sunday worship, outings, guilds, prayer, etc. over a non-specific time period.
As part of its vision statement, the church, while rooted in ancient worship, practices creativity and fellowship. Monthly guilds for writing, needlework and other arts help express God’s creativity.
Outings, or co-adventures, to restaurants or museums create fellowship, as do taking on church responsibilities, praying and volunteering for community projects. Already, the newcomers have chosen to host a teacher and staff appreciation luncheon at the Martin City Elementary School.
Cynthia is quick to point out that “apostle” means serve. And the Celtic part of the church’s identity comes from St. Patrick’s missionary to convert the Celts to Christianity in Ireland.
Ellis is originally from Kansas City and attended St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in the Brookside area. He attended the seminary in Northern Virginia and has been in full time ministry since 1984.
Ellis met Cynthia, a South Carolina native, while at the seminary. She was working in Washington, D.C. as a Congressional Press Secretary. After a two-month courtship, they married, traveled the world, and raised their family.
Unable to ignore her own call to serve, Cynthia pursued a Masters of Arts in Theology from Fuller Seminary in California in the 90s. The two served as priests separately, sometimes in different countries. They eventually arrived in Kansas City where they share the same duties of priest.
“We feel like what we’ve done for the past 30 years has lead us to this,” says Ellis, recalling how he was drawn to walk into the Martin City Brew Pub which eventually led to a phone call from Matt Moore, the owner of the brew pub and The Martin Event Space.
“Martin City is charming,” says Cynthia, pointing out its arts, antiques and family-oriented environment. She quotes a friend, “‘You’ve saved the best for last!’”