THIS POST WRITTEN MARCH 2023 – DELAYED RELEASE
March 7, 2023
25 Years in One Mighty River
This year marks the 25th Anniversary of The Church of Reconciliation in Bel Air, Md., now the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of the Mid Atlantic. The congregation was honored to welcome Archbishop Craig Bates and his wife Cathy to help celebrate the occasion.
This is the Silver Anniversary of a parish birthed and formed entirely within the ICCEC. In 1995 Bishop Rob Northwood, then a deacon serving and helping to establish Christ the King Church in Towson, MD, received a prophetic word that he would plant a church in Bel Air, MD just 15 miles North of his current assignment. This was received with excitement even though he was currently studying at seminary, selling cars full time, fathering the first of many children, and was newly married. In February of 1996 he was ordained a priest and one week later was hosting the church’s first service in his home’s basement.
The church’s inaugural communion wine was very bitter, it’s first tabernacle was handmade, simple, and wooden, and it’s first service was marked by a sense of purpose and unity. The memories warmly recalled by many parishioners still present after all these years included recollections of Sarah Northwood, the Bishop’s wife, self-teaching guitar for praise, the home’s modest kitchen being used for coffee and fellowship, the living room being used for mid-week Bible study, the dining room a Sunday school classroom, the laundry room for the vesting clergy.
This reminiscence serves a greater purpose than nostalgia, it serves to illustrate the nature of a humble initiative serving a divine vocation. The recurring theme of each member’s recollection was the presence and hand of God through the years that would follow, His guidance in times of confusion, His blessing in times of want, His protection in times of turmoil, His love poured out to those who came seeking.
The question kept presenting itself all through the celebrations and testimonies and memories spoken: “Who would attend a church in a nondescript residential basement?” The answer of course; those who came thirsting for something real, something new, something touched by God. Each trailblazing member was there for something intangible and beyond a youth group, nursery, outreach
program, preaching, or praise. Each was there only to experience the Holy Spirit’s move, the written truth spoken, the Body and Blood of Christ, the community of a sincere church family.
These elements have flourished in the church today. The latest generation of seekers has found something that they describe in all the same terms. They have found a home, a family, something old and something new, something rich, something they can be a part of.
Looking ahead we see a vista, bright days, further stories of God’s greatness, stories so grand the coming generations will pass them on and anticipate God’s power in their lives. Looking ahead we see souls flocking to the church, the three streams integrated in worship. We see weddings, funerals, birthdays, baptisms, celebrations, and many, many more anniversaries. This year, The Church of Reconciliation’s 25th year, will be a mountaintop year. A year of long sight. A year of approaching horizons.
To God Be the Glory!
The Cathedral Church of Reconciliation