New Life Church, a USMB congregation in Ulysses, Kansas, has merged with another church in the community, Patterson Avenue Church of God. The newly formed congregation has chosen the name, New Beginnings Community Fellowship.
The two churches finalized the merger by separate vote in October 2019.
New Beginnings gathers for worship in the former New Life Church facility.
New Beginnings will be bi-denominational, participating fully with U.S. Mennonite Brethren and Church of God Ministries, of which the former Patterson Avenue Church of God is a part.
“The Church of God Ministries is a more loosely organized group than Mennonite Brethren are, but both have agreed to fully support, to the best of their abilities, the ministries and mission of both parent organizations,” says Southern District (SDC) minister Tim Sullivan.
Each church’s pastor will continue as co-pastors—Nathan Engelman from New Life Church and Larry Borthwick from Patterson Avenue Church of God. According to Sullivan, the SDC Board of Faith and Life has met with Borthwick and credentialed him as a pastor in the district.
Sullivan says the merger allows the Patterson Avenue Church of God to survive in the form of a merged church, as declining numbers meant the church would soon be unable to afford to continue in its building.
“By merging with New Life Church to become New Beginnings and selling their church property, Patterson Avenue Church of God lives on with a ‘new beginning’ with a church (New Life) that was also small and struggling financially,” Sullivan says. “The sale of one of the buildings gives some working capital to the newly-formed church. There is a new sense of momentum and energy that the merger gives. The pastoral team of Nathan and Larry have formed a strong friendship, and both are eager to see where this will take them together.”
Janae Rempel is the Christian Leader associate editor. She joined the CL staff in September 2017 with six years of experience as a professional journalist. Rempel is an award-winning writer, having received three 2016 Kansas Press Association Awards of Excellence and an Evangelical Press Association Higher Goals award in 2022. Rempel graduated from Tabor College in 2010 with a bachelor of arts in Communications/Journalism and Biblical/Religious Studies. She attends Hillsboro MB Church.