The Garden City
Orangeburg is a beautiful city surrounded by rich and fertile farmland, fed by the cypress-lined Edisto River, which winds through colorful azalea and rose gardens. It has a diverse population with a vibrant culture. It is a place where families stick together and neighbors still look out for one another. Thousands of fresh-faced young people are drawn to our city every year to attend one of our four colleges and universities. Orangeburg is aptly named “The Garden City.”
Sadly, these incredible assets are not what Orangeburg is known for. Our beloved city is plagued by unemployment, economic blight, educational inequality, racial division, generational poverty, and a pervasive spirit of negativity. These problems are overwhelming, and many of our neighbors have lost hope.
But God is making all things new, and he is calling us to be a renewed people for a new city.
New City Fellowship
We are grateful and excited to be part of what God is doing to bring renewal to our city. In early 2016, a group of believers began gathering to share a meal, study the Bible, sing praises, and pray for Orangeburg. We also found ways to serve the community by hosting public discussions on race, offering a free job-readiness course, walking and praying through neighborhoods, and hosting block parties and 5-day clubs for kids.
By His mercy, God is bringing together people of different ethnicities, young and old, professionals and unemployed, single moms and empty nesters, college students and dropouts into a new cross-cultural family.
Why plant a new church?
Racial injustice and division is a long-standing national problem, and the church has continually fallen short of the unity that Jesus wants for us. We need to plant churches that seek to be intentionally cross-cultural, not merely assimilating people into majority cultural norms, but actively accommodating and adjusting to make room for everyone in our city.
This kind of radical inclusion is difficult, and frankly, it often fails. So we must approach this with humility, recognizing the ongoing importance of existing churches that are reaching homogenous groups of people. We desire to partner with other Bible-believing churches and be an encouragement as we mutually seek the glory of God in Orangeburg.