A little more than six years ago my friend Aaron and I were driving around Walnut Hills on a weekday afternoon, looking for a place where we could start a new church. While driving towards our first potential location I took a wrong turn and we came across a beautiful, old church building. "Let's try here," Aaron suggested.
I was doubtful. It was a Disciples of Christ congregation, a cousin denomination to our own Independent Christian Church; our movements split over differing theological convictions decades ago. But with nothing to lose, we pulled into the empty church parking lot and knocked on the church door.
No one answered.
But as we were leaving, a car pulled into the lot. We introduced ourselves to the driver as two ministers who were looking to start a church in the neighborhood. We asked the man, the chairman of the church board, if his church be willing to rent out their facility to us on Sunday nights?
He seemed open to the idea and let us inside. We were in awe of this facility. Sure, it was dated and in need of some improvements, but the location and amenities would work out perfectly. Long story short, the very first contact we made about renting ended up being the place where we've been for the entirety of our church's life. We are indebted to the Walnut Hills Christian Church for renting us the space where Echo Church was born.
Over the years, we've tried to express our thanks to Walnut Hills Christian Church— we've worshipped with them, held joint church events, and even made facility improvements. I've preached there at least one Sunday a year since we started renting from them.
But next week, the Walnut Hills Christian Church is closing their doors. After 130 years of ministry, a declining membership/bank account has forced them to make the difficult decision to shut down. The situation with the building is still up in the air. We at Echo have put in a proposal that their leadership is still weighing out. Right now, I have no idea whether we will end up with the 90 year old structure or whether we'll have to find a new location.
Regardless of what happens, we want to pay homage to this congregation that facilitated our beginning.
So this Sunday, September 25th at 11:00am, I'm inviting you to join us at Echo Church in worshipping with the Walnut Hills Christian Church one final time. Thirteen decades of service to a community should be applauded. If you're able, I'd love to see you there.