Fellowship of believers
Congregations come together for day of prayer and a special gift
By Karen Nolan
Article Launched: 08/30/2008 08:23:55 AM PDT /Vacaville Reporter News
Members of The Father’s House and New Hope Christian Fellowship gather for prayer and to present a $130,000 donation to New Hope’s building fund. (Courtesy photos)
Anyone driving by Vaca Valley and Allison parkways last Sunday morning might have thought a flash mob was converging on the construction site of New Hope Christian Fellowship’s building-in-progress.
Cars were backed up all the way to Interstate 505, as a couple of thousand people streamed onto the Vacaville site. They sang a few songs, prayed a few prayers and left – the whole thing took about 20 minutes.
But when it was over, the New Hope congregation had, well, new hope – a result not only of the prayers but also of a $130,000 donation to its building fund that came from the people of The Father’s House.
“It was brief but amazing – brief and amazing,” said New Hope’s Pastor Ben Randall.
“We love doing this kind of stuff and being generous,” Pastor Dave Patterson said of his congregation at The Father’s House. “It was an amazing time. Hopefully, they were very encouraged and will get their building completed.”
New Hope and The Father’s House are independent, non-denominational Christian churches that were formed in Vacaville in the 1990s. Both Randall and Patterson are active in the Vacaville Christian Ministerial Association. For the past few years, they also have been meeting for weekly prayer with three or four other local pastors.
A few weeks ago, Randall asked the ministers to pray for New Hope’s building project: a 20,000-square-foot ministry center on 7 acres at the south end of Allison Parkway that is supposed to be complete in November.
In addition to praying with Randall that day, Patterson said he would ask some of his church members to come to the site and pray over it. They agreed to meet around noon last Sunday.
Patterson brought up the plan during a regular staff meeting at his church. He also posed a question: What would be a tangible way to help New Hope?
Someone suggested turning over the offerings from a weekend’s worth of services. The staff liked that plan. Then someone else suggested having the entire church present the gift.
Project “High Noon at New Hope” was born.
Patterson told the congregation about it. “We asked them to give generously, and they did,” he said of the 2,300 worshipers who attended the three services last weekend. “We were hoping it would be our largest weekend offering ever, and it was. That was cool.”
Worshipers at the Saturday night and early Sunday morning services were invited to meet at New Hope at noon. Those attending the 11 a.m. service had a brief time of worship, then hopped in their cars for the short drive.
There were so many of them that traffic briefly came to a standstill.
Randall and his congregation, meanwhile, were overwhelmed when they saw the cars lining up on Allison Drive and throngs of people swarming into their parking lot.
“There were so many of them,” Randall said. “There were our people and people from The Father’s House. In the midst of August, in the heat of the day, they came together and prayed for us. There were at least a couple thousand people and they were still coming. It was wonderful to see.”
But Randall was rendered speechless when Patterson presented the check.
“It isn’t the money, although certainly no one can deny the blessing the money brings,” Randall said. “It’s that the heart of the family – our family – at The Father’s House is incredible. I was moved beyond expression. I had a real difficult time speaking, to say the least.”
This isn’t the first time that a Vacaville congregation has helped out another church financially. Nine years ago, the Vaca Valley Christian Life Center (now known as The Mission) gave $15,000 to help Valley Church purchase a piece of property fronting its rural Vacaville home. Perhaps not so surprising, The Mission’s Pastor Dave Crone and Valley’s Pastor Raleigh Galgan are among the ministers who pray regularly with Randall and Patterson.
It may seem unusual that Christians from different denominations and churches would pray for or support each other, but Randall says the early church did just that, as evidenced by biblical accounts. “In the Book of Acts, you see people who prayed for each other,” he said. “This should clearly define that the church is not made up of individual small clubs, but of a single body of believers.”