January 10th, 2016 is a day that will long be remembered within the Embrace Church family. It was the day we were officially chartered as a new United Methodist Church.
The gathering was full of all the ceremony you would expect for such a great occasion: a beautiful altar table with fresh flowers; special words from our United Methodist District Superintendent, Robbins Sims; people coming forward to offer their signatures as “Charter Members”; the new Embrace Executive Team being confirmed; and of course followed by a fantastic potluck feast. It was all very special and meaningful.
But something quite significant and unique was also happening in this moment. Not only were we being chartered as a new United Methodist Church, we were also being sent out as a new church planted from Cornerstone.
Our story is a beautiful one that has its roots in the heart of another body that we all love – Cornerstone Church. The movement that has now become Embrace Church was actually birthed from a vision that was less about expanding buildings and more about reproducing Kingdom movements. Four years after being launched as a “multi-site” of Cornerstone, and through much support, nurturing and empowering, Embrace Church now stands as one of the fruits of that vision.
It was fitting for Rusty Hutson, my friend and Lead Pastor of Cornerstone, along with Cornerstone’s Executive Team to be honored guests for the celebration. From the depths of his heart, Rusty offered his words of encouragement, sending and blessing on behalf of Cornerstone Church. And all received it with great love.
Since that time I’ve had so many people share their reflections on the day. Several have described it as “surreal” and a few different people even said it was filled with the great love that you often experience at a wedding. Another leader texted me that same evening to share, “I have never experienced what I witnessed today and am so thankful to be a part of all of this.”
Something special happened on this day as were chartered and planted as a new church. There was a real sense of witnessing and participating in a kingdom movement much greater than either Cornerstone or Embrace. It was as if we were somehow standing on very holy ground…in the middle of the Lee-Scott Academy gymnasium.
Rusty emailed me the day after this special event and he shared these simple words: “I think God was glorified in what happened yesterday.” I’m certain that any of us who were part of this day couldn’t agree more.