Acts 2 digs into new phase
Note burned, ground broken on same day
By HOLLY McCRAY
For a breathless moment, the white paper inside the chiminea refused to burn. But sudden flames gobbled it, and the crowd applauded outside Acts 2 United Methodist Church in Edmond on Pentecost Sunday, May 19.
The note-burning confirmed full payment on the church’s building debt of almost $1.4 million. A 20-year mortgage was settled in less than seven years.
But the Acts 2 crowd was just warming up with that ritual. Senior Pastor Mark Foster directed the group to move out across the church’s property for another ceremony. They then broke ground for a building expansion that will double worship space, education space, and parking space.
During morning worship, Rev. Foster had noted that the church will be debt-free "for about three weeks." On April 7, members had approved new construction; the Bi-District Board of Church Location gave its go-ahead on April 23.
The decision seems opportune. Also on May 19, the church received into membership 15 young people, completing a nine-month Confirmation class, and four families. The confirmands spoke through video. Three of the youths were baptized.
The confirmands "are taking their place in ministry beside you," the pastor declared to the people.
Individually, each young person knelt and was then surrounded by clergy, family, and friends in Christ, placing hands upon his or her head. The congregation shared in Holy Communion.
Pentecost Sunday, indeed!
"We believe strongly that, where God gives vision, God also gives provision to make God-dreams a reality," Foster said. "When we bought the 35 acres at Penn and Covell in 1999, many folks thought we were crazy. It has been so great watching all these young families choose to sacrifice together to get this done and to live into the next step of God’s preferred future for us to bless those around us."
The future is visible in the elementary school construction under way on land adjoining the church’s southern border.
The Kingdom vision is made plain in the worship bulletin: "Current population within 5-mile radius of Acts 2 = 96,905. Twenty-nine percent report no faith involvement = 28,102 without a church home."
Established in 1999, Acts 2 has grown to more than 500 people in worship, with three Sunday morning services and one on Friday evening. In 2011, the church launched Connect UMC, which holds worship at Centennial Elementary School in Edmond and is averaging more than 100 worshippers.
"And day by day, the Lord added to their number those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47, NRSV).
— Chantelle Foster contributed to this story