We are a group of believers who come from a variety of traditions and who have found a home in the Mennonite church. Our diversity of backgrounds brings with it a diversity of theologies and perspectives, but we gather around a common love of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. We work to discern together how to follow Jesus more faithfully.
Our community has a family feel. We are intergenerational, and you may come on a Sunday to find one of our youth reading Scripture or one of our elderly members leading music. We greatly value fellowship with one another, and we try to create spaces where we can grow together as a community as well as simply enjoy one another's company. These spaces include: Sunday School for all ages, a bi-weekly "Dwelling in the Word" Bible Study group, church picnics, many potluck meals, and informal time following our worship to catch up and enjoy fellowship with one another. We welcome all to take part in the life of our community!
901 East Boulevard Alpha, NJ
Worship at Alpha is laid back and welcoming. Come in your jeans or Sunday best--either way you'll feel comfortable.
During worship, we make time for singing and praise, listening to Scripture, a sermon, silent meditation, and offering up our prayer concerns to one another and to God. We are flexible in our worship format: sometimes the sermons take more traditional forms, while other times we have a more interactive discussion; during certain seasons, we follow the lectionary, while at other times we explore a thematic series. The worship also fluctuates depending on who is providing leadership. Consistent with the Anabaptist-Mennonite commitment to a "priesthood of believers," we encourage many of our members to be involved in the leadership of our services, and each of our leaders brings his or her particular style to the music and tone of worship. Overall, we try to make space for God's Spirit to move as well as making space for each one of us to bring our experiences into worship.
Pastor Krista Showalter Ehst came to Alpha in April, 2014. She loves pastoring a congregation where so many members are involved in the work of church and ministry, and feels blessed to work alongside the wonderful folks of Alpha.
Krista grew up attending a Mennonite church in Southeastern Pennsylvania. She studied Bible & Religion at Goshen College and received her Masters of Divinity from Candler School of Theology (Emory University) in 2012. Krista is bi-vocational, and in addition to pastoring she farms alongside her husband, Tim. They also recently began the adventure of parenting with the birth of their daughter Anabel. In many ways, farm and church are quite different, but Krista finds a lot of commonalities between her work of tending to God's creation and tending to God's people. She looks forward to the many ways she will continue to encounter the Spirit in both these types of work.
The name "Mennonite" encompasses many different kinds of worshiping communities. Mennonites come from the Anabaptist movement (Anabaptist means "rebaptizer"), a 16th century movement that developed within the broader Protestant reformation. There are many descendants of the Anabaptists, and we at Alpha are part of Mennonite Church USA. MC USA has many of the markers that distinguish Anabaptist Mennonite traditions, but the denomination also bears similarities to many Protestant denominations. If you've worshiped in a Protestant congregation, you'll probably feel comfortable walking into an MCUSA church. While individual MCUSA congregations vary greatly, here are some common core beliefs and values:
- We are followers of Jesus, whom we believe revealed God's salvation to the world.
- As disciples of Christ, we feel called to live out (as much as possible) God's kingdom-ways in our daily living.
- Our discipleship includes commitments to peace and nonviolence, as well as simple living.
- We interpret the Scriptures as collective communities, and draw on Scripture to discern God's calling for our lives.
- We practice adult or "believers" baptism. This means that we do not baptize infants, but instead baptize a person when she or he is ready to publicly commit their lives to following Jesus and to taking part in the community of faith.
For more info on Mennonites, check out the following resources:
- GAMEO (Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online)
Mennonites: discipleship focused, community discernment, lived faith Our pastor: Krista Showalter Ehst, MDiv., bivocational farmer and pastor