Search the Baltimore County community newspaper archives


>> Click here to search for stories published AFTER 2011

>> Use this search box to find stories published prior to 2011.
Note: All Words is a more strict search. Implied operator is "AND."
Ex: Charles Dickens"

From
subscriber services email print comment


“One church, multiple locations” is how Mountain Christian Church describes its new worship format as of late March.

After helping organize or support at least seven other area churches over the years, the Joppa-based congregation, which attracts about 3,600 worshippers each weekend, is launching its first satellite site, in Bel Air.

Besides its main campus at Mountain and Jerusalem roads, the congregation is offering its same Sunday morning services in the auditorium at John Carroll School, a private, Catholic school.

It officially opened with two services Sunday morning, March 28, which collectively drew 905 adults and children to John Carroll’s 600-seat auditorium, Luke Erickson, pastor for the Bel Air site, said.

“It was a good day,” Erickson said.

Three services are also planned there for Easter Sunday, April 4, at 8, 9:30 and 11:15 a.m.

Unlike other churches spearheaded by Mountain Christian, such as Christian Community Church, launched in White Marsh four years ago, this site is essentially a second Mountain Christian branch offering the same name and services.

Senior pastor Ben Cachiaras said while the White Marsh church is a completely separate, autonomous congregation, the Bel Air site “is really more like a bank branch.”

Exploring a satellite campus began more than a year ago, when church leaders started looking for ways to reach more people who do not attend church while trying to save money.

“We really thought of ways that wouldn’t require building a new building and make room for people to find their way back to God through Mountain,” Erickson said.

Bel Air made sense because it is far enough away from the Joppa campus and has a large concentration of people, he said.

“We looked at a number of schools and recreation centers. At John Carroll, there was an open door,” Erickson said.

He noted that the church has a very good relationship with John Carroll, but has no direct connection with the school other than renting space.

Mountain Christian, which dates itself to the early 1800s, is one of the oldest churches from the Restoration movement.

The new location is being called Mountain Christian Church-Bel Air, meeting at The John Carroll School.

In an earlier statement, Erickson said while some might be surprised to see a Catholic school and Protestant church working together, it is an example of people showing respect to each other in the interest of serving the community.

John Carroll President Richard O’Hara said in a letter sent Monday to parents that the agreement came after months of discussion with Mountain Christian officials and that the sublease was officially endorsed by the Archdiocese.

“It will not compromise the strong Catholic identity and commitment to the Catholic educational mission that are at the core of our school’s history,” O’Hara wrote, noting that the school has made its facility open to various congregations in the past.

“For our school, the agreement brings to campus on a regular basis many families who may become prospective John Carroll families — since MCC does not have its own high school,” he wrote, adding that it also provides a steady source of rental income.

Executive pastor Rob Kastens said according to the church’s research, 13.4 percent of Harford County residents report having no religious affiliation.

“That tells us something about our county, that we want to reach as many as we can,” he said.

The multi-site church has become an increasingly popular format and of the nation’s 10 largest churches, only one is not multi-site, he said.

“It’s an ever-increasing trend; it’s fairly cost-effective. Most churches can not afford to keep building. We will continue to look at lots of options, adding services,” Kastens said.

For now, “we have been very pleased with this arrangement with John Carroll. They have been fantastic to work with. We have been very pleased with the response, as far as things we have done to kind of serve in the community,” he said.

Erickson said that although the Bel Air site did draw some attendees from Joppa, the goal is to attract new people from the Bel Air area who would not otherwise attend church.

Those who would attend the satellite are “probably the people who live in the Bel Air area. It has more of a community feel, and a smaller, more family feel,” he said.

Kastens and Cachiaras said they do not have specific plans to grow any further but did not discount the possibility of future expansion.

“We don’t have this grand vision to be anything other than what God wants us to be,” Kastens said. “We are not trying to be the biggest.”

Cachiaras added they are not trying to somehow hurt other churches.

“I think we just want to be a blessing in this community,” he said. “Even the word ‘expansion’ makes people anxious in this county, for some reason. We don’t want to be the Walmart church. The more churches of all different stripes, the better.”

Nevertheless, with the Joppa campus, “we are sort of landlocked where we are. We are not ruling anything out,” he said about future growth.


user comments (0)


Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Baltimore Sun: Baltimore breaking news, sports, business, entertainment, weather and traffic
xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Learn more about subscriptions
Learn more about subscriptions
Advertisement
From the Terps overcoming costly penalties and mistakes to the defense delivering another strong performance, here are three takeaways from an eventful and unorthodox Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
Hoehn’s Bakery, a beloved Baltimore mainstay of nearly 95 years, announced it is shuttering its doors Friday.
In almost every game, the Chiefs are going to go on a scoring run and then turn their top pass rushers loose to seal the victory. That spells trouble for the Ravens, Mike Preston writes.
Maryland transitioned to cashless tolling in 2020. The rollout has been fraught with glitches, including overbilling customers, according to a state audit.
Advertisement
Jamerria Hall was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of her 6-year-old daughter, Da’Neria Thomas, and 8-year-old son, Davin Thomas Jr., after the children were found dead inside their Southwest Baltimore apartment last month.
The Chiefs have become a nemesis reminiscent of a small club of past foes that thumped the Ravens year after year. With another matchup looming Sunday night, do they have the Ravens' number?
Drew S. Talbott, owner of a local construction company who was also a competitive Chesapeake Bay sailor, died of a heart attack Sept. 8. The longtime Anneslie resident was 58.
Donning neon vests and hard hats, construction crews and developers gathered Friday for a “topping out” ceremony at the site of what eventually will be Port Covington’s Rye Street Market, the first of five buildings currently underway on the waterfront campus to have its exterior shell completed.
The state has drafted new wastewater requirements for the Valley Proteins factory in Linkwood, and is planning to levy a “substanitial” financial penalty over pollution concerns.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Sunday Citizen compiled facts and statistics on how remote work has affected sleep using 2020 data from health news publications, scientific journals, and surveys that look into the effects of remote work on different aspects of life.
Unity Hall will offer “below-market rents” to nonprofit and community-based organizations for office and program spaces.
Carroll County Public Schools reported Friday that 803 close contact individuals are in quarantine because of possible COVID-19 exposure.
Restaurants across Baltimore and the nation have reported hiring woes amid competition for workers during the pandemic.
Shareholders of W. R. Grace & Co. approved a deal Friday for a New York building materials company to acquire the Columbia-based specialty chemicals giant for $4.6 billion.
After almost 45 years to the day that police found her body dumped near a cemetery, Baltimore County Police said detectives identified “Woodlawn Jane Doe” thanks to new DNA testing.
Advertisement

Free Fun & Games

  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Daily Crossword
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Jumble Daily in color
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Daily Solitaire
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Bubble Shooter HD
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    2020 Connect
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Cookie Crush
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Butterfly Kyodai
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Classic Mahjong
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Daily Sudoku
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

The Baltimore Sun Store

Advertisement

GAMES & TRIVIA

Advertisement