Our Pre-History: The Closing of FBC Natick
After much deliberation and soul-searching, the First Baptist Church in Natick (FBC Natick), officially stopped worshipping and disbanded its membership in the fall of 2011. A temporary board of trustees from FBC Natick worked with the American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts (TABCOM), the historic denominational partner of FBC Natick, to call a minister to start a completely new community of faith in Natick using the building and resources left behind by FBC Natick. The process of disbanding their congregation to make room for a new congregation to be born was an incredible leap of faith for the members of FBC Natick. It was their hope that a vital witness to God’s love expressed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ would be born in Natick in the place where they formerly worshipped and enjoyed fellowship. For more info on the closing of FBC Natick, please read this newspaper article.
The Calling of Rev. Ian Mevorach
The Rev. Ian Mevorach was called by TABCOM, in consultation with the temporary board of trustees of FBC Natick, to start the new congregation. Rev. Ian Mevorach was chosen because he is an outside-the-box thinker with the entrepreneurial skills and talents required to start a completely new church that would be relevant and transformative for the community in and around Natick. He moved to Natick with his wife Amy, and three children (now they have four), in June of 2012. And from that day on, the work of starting a new congregation began. Rev. Ian’s wife Amy has always played an essential role in this work. Ian and Amy are co-founders of Common Street Spiritual Center and continue to partner in the growth and development of the Common Street community and its mission.
Common Street Begins
After spending months in Natick meeting people, praying, brainstorming, and figuring out what the needs of the community in around Natick were, both spiritually and practically, Ian and Amy began to articulate the mission, vision, and values of a new community of faith called Common Street Community Church (CSCC). Through conversations, a website, outreach events, social media, and public meetings they gathered those who were interested in “building a multicultural community of faith that is inclusive and accepting, rooted in Christian faith and practice, and open to our neighbor’s faith and spirituality.” The community of people attracted to the vision, mission, and values of Common Street Community Church held its first public worship service on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2012.
Since that time, we have continued to gather for worship each Sunday at 10:30am, and have begun to develop other ministries and ways of serving and connecting with our community.
Common Street Becomes Self-Governing
On June 2nd of 2013, Common Street Community Church became a self-governing congregation when the temporary board of trustees from FBC Natick resigned their positions, having completed their charge to maintain the upkeep and administration of the facilities until the completion of the initial start up phase of the new congregation. Common Street Community Church’s first governing council was formed, its bylaws set in place, and its initial membership confirmed.
In the fall of 2014 our community gathered for conversations to consider the epiphany of Pastor Ian that we change our name from “church” to “spiritual center,” a name that better fits with our inclusive vision. The decision to rename was nearly unanimous; it was also supported by the leadership of our denomination as a way to catch a fresh wind of the Spirit. During our communal discernment process, Amy Mevorach sketched the vision of “spiritual center” in a ring of circles, with a common center in the middle; later, thanks to design work by Scott Pressler, the concept Amy sketched became our new logo. Each circle represents the different but inter-connected ways that folks within our community pursue their various callings, all of which are centered in Divine Love.
On March 14th, 2015, we had a wonderful renaming celebration to mark the occasion.
As a spiritual center we are a love-centered community that seeks to connect people to their spiritual centers and support people in manifesting what flows out of their spiritual centers. While rooted in Christian faith and practice, we are an open and pluralistic community that includes people of various generations, cultures and beliefs. We are seeking to find common ground, support each other on our journeys, collaborate in doing good, give and receive love, and seek more and more to live authentically and freely from our spiritual centers.
The Journey Continues
Today Common Street Spiritual Center is still alive with possibility, continually experimenting with new language, new ideas, and new ways of being and becoming what Martin Luther King Jr. called “Beloved Community.” We’ve maintained our historic affiliation with the American Baptist Churches, USA, who have offered their wholehearted support of our inclusive mission and vision; we’ve also joined the Alliance of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists and the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America. We are deepening our sense of mission, widening our inclusive vision, and striving to live out our values in all we do. As our journey continues, we welcome you to walk with us!