The genesis for New River Regional Ministry began in 2006, when All Saints Episcopal Church in Fort Lauderdale, a large resource size parish, responded to the call for ministry to serve very low income, recently immigrated Latinos. The leadership at All Saints called the Reverend Rosa Lindahl, a native of Colombia, to work with a small seed group of other Latinos to get this new ministry off the ground. The group that became El Centro Hispano de Todos los Santos congregation (El Centro) rented a small upholstery shop that we converted to a chapel. Over the next three years El Centro moved twice to accommodate our growing ministries and community. By the end of 2009, the ElCentro congregation knew that they would need to move again within the next six months. But where?
From the beginning, El Centro was located near another Fort Lauderdale Episcopal church: St. Ambrose. At the end of 2009, as El Centro was looking for a new home, St. Ambrose was in crisis. For ten years it had rented a large part of its facility to a social service agency. The agency was moving out, and, with the space they formerly occupied needing approximately $500,000 worth of repairs, there were no prospects for another tenant. Without this income stream, St. Ambrose could no longer support a full-time priest. Remaining was a small preschool/day care program (36 students) and approximately 65 active members of the congregation.
St. Ambrose had the space that would allow El Centro to grow, which would also help with operating expenses for St. Ambrose. The leadership of St. Ambrose took the difficult and courageous step to share their church with El Centro.
An agreement was made between St. Ambrose and All Saints: while still leading el Centro, Reverend Lindahl was brought on as priest-in-charge at St. Ambrose, and both its congregation and the preschool were placed under the leadership and administrative management of All Saints. Our three congregations began to call ourselves the New River Regional Ministry.
The New River Regional Ministry is a new, different expression of ‘multi-cell’ or ‘multi-site’ ministry, created in response to both a need for church planting as part of All Saints’ growth strategy and as a response to area congregations in deep crisis. Its member congregations – All Saints, St. Ambrose, and El Centro - represent the diversity of culture, theological and social beliefs, and income level found in the Fort Lauderdale area. There are also significant size and power differences. By God’s grace, we have managed to find our way forward and continue to serve God in this corner of God's vineyard.
Your next event could be held overlooking the New River on All Saints' downtown Fort Lauderdale campus. For more information contact:
RBL Event Management