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A Downtown Destination for Community
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By Rob Hueniken Churches Together London

Adding value is a key requirement in business, and the corner stone for Destination Church in St Thomas. Started in January 2011, Destination has grown from 17 people in a rented storefront to a respected “spoke in the wheel” for the city of St Thomas. Led by Pastor Beth Fellinger, an Alpha course in a local restaurant has spun into a spacious and welcoming venue at the corner of Talbot Street and Ross.

As their “We are blessed” attitude proves, relationships are the strength of community, both within the church, and beyond. Right from the start, they have actively listened to what St Thomas needs in a church and as a valued partner with both city and service organizations. Looking past the tendency of churches to duplicate services, the leaders of Destination church are finding ways to add value to their city, and to do it with excellence and integrity.

One of the weekly community activities at Destination church is Stone Soup, named after the shared contribution story by the same name. Thanks to its professional-grade kitchen (added by the venue’s former restaurant owner) the volunteers at Destination are able to create large and delicious meals.

There is lots of seating, and the round tables are an encouragement for conversations and getting to know each other. The round tables are also used for the coffee time and the service on Sunday morning, which is helped by the clever placement of large TVs. At Destination the experience and focus is wide and inclusive.

On a recent “Go-See” visit to Destination, Londoners got to learn about the church and participate in the Stone Soup evening. Members of Churches Together London, and conference-goers to the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), recognize and encourage the community involvement and Christian walk happening here.

Pastor Beth Fellinger shared the amazing real estate story of how they came to finally own this beautiful venue. This spacious church has lots of room for special purposes, including a quiet place for family, and break-out rooms for discussions and youth.

Destination church is a great example of how a downtown church can be part of the community and a benefit to the city. In fact, the city of St Thomas only rezones downtown buildings when they see that value is added. In the case of Destination church, the municipality recognizes both financial and social benefits, including reduced police calls.

The church is also partners with Christians Against Poverty, who help people get a handle on their finances, and to build a solid future.

When I visited Destination I felt very welcome, and was soon happily in conversation with both volunteers and the street community. You can tell that they love this church and what it brings to their lives. Their Vision Statement includes this poignant line: We link arms with anyone who tells the story of Jesus. Just that one part of their philosophy brought value to my day at Destination.

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