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Faith & Worship

Harmony Springs Christian Church reinventing self

5/8/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

GREEN — High Street Christian Church of Downtown Akron’s move to Green in September 2012 was not only a change in venue for the congregation, but a chance to reinvent itself to better serve its community, according to its pastor, the Rev. Joel Engman.

Engman, who started at the church in December 2012, explained the move for the church was a response to a dwindling congregation at the downtown location. Previously, he was an associate pastor in Wooster for seven years before moving to Maine to work at a residential treatment facility for adolescents.  

The new church, renamed Harmony Springs Christian Church, first started meeting at the Tadmor Shrine Center on Krebs Drive in Coventry before moving to Akron General’s Health and Wellness Center—Green at 1940 Town Park Blvd., according to Engman.

Church officials have purchased about 9 acres near the intersection of South Arlington and Boettler roads to create a permanent home, and almost $300,000 has been raised for the new church through a capital campaign, Engman added. Church officials are waiting on proceeds from the sale of the downtown church property before beginning construction on the new church home, which is slated to start in the next year or two.

Engman stated church officials had started a process while in Downtown Akron to “re-envision” itself, and that effort was completed in Green.

“It took us about a year to evaluate ourselves,” said Engman. “We worked on how to best connect with what people wanted in a church. This vision focuses on reaching those who describe themselves as ‘spiritual but not religious,’ which is the fastest growing audience among religiously affiliated people. Harmony Springs is positioning itself to reach this segment by continuing to connect with those who have been hurt by a bad church experience elsewhere, or those who don’t fit into the big ‘mega church’ mold.

“We are not the new-church-in-town that features hipsters, rock music and fancy coffee,” he added. “We appeal to people who want a meaningful experience without the trappings of a big production.”

Harmony Springs Christian Church will host a grand-opening event May 11 at 10:30 a.m. at its temporary home to celebrate its new identity. Engman will discuss each key concept of the church’s reinvention — engaging, green, comfortable, innovative and united — through a series of Sunday sermons at 10:30 a.m. titled “For, Not Against” starting that day and ending June 1.

All are invited to attend.

More information on the church and its future plans can be found on its website at www.harmonysprings.org.

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