What started as an informal monthly gathering of four local pastors has resulted in the first annual joint, outdoor worship service Sunday of four Fort Lee churches. “” brings together the , , and in what church leaders hope to make an annual event and the launch of further efforts to better serve the community.
The “genesis” of the event was when the four pastors—Richard Lee (Bethany Well), Rick Spenst (Fort Lee Gospel), Dominick Apollo (First Reformed Church of the Palisades) and Won Kwak (Maranatha Grace)—started getting together each month for breakfast at a local diner, Kwak explained.
“The reason why we came together is because we are Christian pastors who love the Lord and who are seeking to love our community better,” Kwak said.
It was from those meetings, during which the four also discussed what was going on in their personal lives and their ministries, that the idea of having their churches worship together like they will do Sunday was born.
“Through this kind of initial endeavor, which we feel is just the start of united efforts of serving the community, we will hopefully serve and bring hope and joy and Gospel love to the community,” Kwak said.
The Gospel4Fort Lee group is expecting as many as 500 to 600 people to turn up Sunday for the 11 a.m. worship service, which takes place at the Dr. Alan W. Sugarman Sports Complex adjacent to on Stillwell Ave.
“We’ve been encouraging our church folks to invite friends and family and neighborhood people,” Kwak said. “Primarily it is going to be a worship gathering; we’re not going to in any way lessen what we normally do on a given Sunday. But at the same time, we want to really convey a message of unity in the Gospel and hope and joy as well.”
Kwak believes some Christians misunderstand what it means, “to be in the world,” and he hopes Sunday’s event will serve as a reminder.
“We become kind of like these people who are so afraid of culture and so afraid of getting out there that we just do our little monastic take on what it means to be a follower of Christ,” he said. “And we don’t want to convey that message because we believe it’s a very incomplete understanding of the mission of God and the church and Christian faith. We just want to get the word out there that we’re here to serve the community in small ways and—Lord willing—hopefully big ways as well.”
He also said the four pastors don’t want Sunday to be what he called “a one hit wonder.”
“We’re hoping it’ll be something that takes place annually, and we’re hoping this will be the launching event of other ways that we can serve the community and share the love of Christ,” Kwak said.
The Gospel4Fort Lee outdoor worship service is Sunday at 11 a.m. at the Lewis F. Cole Middle School field (Dr. Alan W. Sugarman Sports Complex) on Stillwell Ave. Lunch will be provided.