As the faith landscape of Wellesley has changed over time, churches have had to reassess and adjust as expenses associated with operating buildings increase. For the Christ Church United Methodist congregation in Wellesley, this has been a challenge they’ve been working through for the last several years.
Christ Church United Methodist ceased worship in their building in 2016 and Carter Memorial UMC in neighboring Needham was tasked with envisioning a new future. With denominational support, Christ Church was merged into Carter Memorial in 2017, becoming the Carter Memorial Wellesley Campus.
One of the first things the visioning team did was determine that there would be no Sunday morning Methodist worship services, but rather monthly services that would focus on spiritual growth, small group sharing, and emergent possibilities. This change of focus meant that Sunday morning worship could be a “shared ministry” with another church.
“There were several offers for purchase and other congregations that were seeking space, but after 18 months, Carter Memorial felt that the best partnership was with Metro West Baptist Church, a homegrown Wellesley faith community,” noted Rev. Gary L. Shaw, senior pastor at Carter. “With this partnership, the sanctuary on Sunday morning continues with praise and thanksgiving to God, the Children’s Corner Nursery School (formerly Christ Church Nursery School) will continue to offer great nursery school care, and Carter Memorial can work towards new forms of ministry, worship, mission and service to the neighborhood and Wellesley community.”
This past Easter Sunday, that partnership was established, as Metro West Baptist Church met for its very first Sunday service in the sanctuary of the Carter Memorial Wellesley Campus. Since then, the Metro West congregation has been settling into its new home.
Headed by Pastor David Melton, who lives in Wellesley, Metro West Baptist is a community of local residents who share a desire for sound, relevant biblical teaching. Contemporary worship music and vibrant youth and college-aged groups are already bringing new life to Sunday mornings on Brook Street.
“Our church family has been a part of Wellesley for more than 15 years, but we’ve never been in a position to have a physical church home that offered the space and consistency our ministries need,” said Melton. “We’re grateful for the opportunity that Rev. Shaw and his congregation are giving us to make Jesus known to the people of Wellesley.”
The transition will take time and initial changes to the physical space have already been made. Improvements have been made to the interior to address the practical needs of the 21st century congregation. New video screens have been installed overhead to ensure attendees can visually follow along. More physical enhancements are planned, including signage, painting and flooring.
But a church isn’t a building. It’s the people.
“It’s the Bible for modern day life. Pastor Dave takes a book that can be challenging and makes it something applicable to my every day. He’s relatable and real, something that we wanted to find in a church where we could raise our children,” says Metro West church member Deanna Dwyer.
Metro West Baptist meets every Sunday morning at 9:30 at 2 Brook Street in Wellesley. Visitors from all faith traditions are welcome. For more information, visit www.metrowestchurch.com.