BaptistNews

Church merger ensures gospel witness

MAPLEWOOD – A group of believers in Maplewood has a vision for the future. This congregation is the new merger of Maplewood Baptist Church and Mid-Cities Church, to be renamed Mid-Cities Church at Maplewood.

“We voted to come together,” Nate Edmondson, lead pastor of Mid-Cities, said, “after a transition team made a recommendation for us to join together.”

Mid-Cities Church was a young plant meeting upstairs in the Maplewood Baptist Church gym while the Maplewood Baptist Church was downstairs in the worship center.  Edmondson was the pastor of Mid-Cities while Maplewood was without a pastor.

Bill Affolter, retired pastor and elder of the new congregation, has used Maplewood Baptist Church as a home base through the years.

“I was a teen at Maplewood,” he said, “I’ve pastored many years, never at Maplewood, most recently in East St. Louis.”

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“Maplewood was an older congregation and beginning to decline,” he continued, “but Mid-Cities had a problem with location.  They are a group of young adults with small children, and we were missing out on ministering to children.  We would go downhill unless we could minister to children and this is a way to do it.”

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“We are excited about the possibilities,” Edmondson said.  “We are excited about inheriting the history of Maplewood Baptist and the legacy of salvations.  We complement and help each other to reach St. Louis.”

Darren Casper, associate executive director of the St. Louis Metro Baptist Association, is happy with the positive blending of the two congregations.

“This relationship began two to three years ago,” he said.  “They developed a relationship between the church plant and the traditional church.  They participated in mutual outreach events like the Maplewood Christmas event.”

“They built trust and respect,” he said, “between the two congregations which displays the beautiful partnerships within Southern Baptist life.”

“Maplewood Baptist Church has a great history in the city and the association,” Casper said.  “Merging with this plant helps to ensure a strong gospel witness in Maplewood for years to come.”

“They didn’t rush the process,” he continued. “That is what made this merger so positive.  They got to know each other as friends.” 



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