Prayers result in “storybook merger” for two Church of Christ congregations

Josiah Almquist (left) a younger member of the SouthPoint Church of Christ extends the hand of welcome with Donna Bingham (right) a longtime member of the long established Red Bridge Church of Christ. Photo by Emily Johnson.

By Travis Reames and Kathy Feist

On April 1st two congregations will join together. The long-established Red Bridge Church of Christ located at 101 E. Red Bridge Rd, will merge with SouthPoint Church of Christ, a new congregation that has been meeting at the Martin City Elementary School for the past six months.  They will begin a new church family life at the Red Bridge church on that date.

“It’s a perfect combination,” says Red Bridge Church of Christ elder Jeff Hogland. “We’re glad to have all these children. And now they are going to have all these grandparents.”

Hogland says most of the Red Bridge Church of Christ families have aged and moved on, leaving a small congregation of about 85 members. South Point has about 200 members, 90 of whom are children.

Hogland says the merger is  an “amazing story.” The Red Bridge Church had turned to prayer to find an answer to their shrinking congregation. The church had shut it doors a few years ago, but recently reopened.

South Point members. who had left a Johnson County church, had turned to prayer to find a permanent home. Their realtor had contacted Red Bridge Church of Christ about their building even though it was not listed for sale. “She said, ‘Someone wants to buy your building,” he recalls. “We didn’t want to sell, but we wanted to get to know them.” When the two congregations met–one elderly, the other filled with youth–they realized it was a perfect combination, according to Hogland.

“It’s a storybook merger,” he says. “Our first service is on Easter. That’s the exclamation point to the ending of our story!”

Two worship services, one at 8 am and another at 10:30 am will celebrate the day’s theme: “This Changes Everything.”  Friends and wellwishers are invited to attend either of the identical worship services on April 1st and interact with classes for all ages at 9:30 am.

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