New Work in an Old Place

Tidelands Church, a new church development in the Northwest Coast Presbytery, had been worshiping in the Stanwood Senior Center for several years. In the spring of 2015, the opportunity presented itself for this missional community to acquire a permanent home. What surprised Organizing Pastor Rev. Brandon Bailey was that the prospective property had once been the home of the Stanwood Presbyterian Church, established over one hundred years ago in 1906. With the help of a loan from the Mission Development Certificates, they closed the sale on May 15, 2015 and soon thereafter starting holding services in their new/old space.

Rev. Bailey and the Core Team (a name they use until they form an official session) had been thinking about their ideal space for some time. The smaller yet functional space provides for them a much-needed permanent place of worship, and a multi-purpose space: office space that is shared with children’s ministry, used for counseling, and other ministries. They are also extending the use of the building out into the community, rather than using it exclusively for church programs.

The focus at Tidelands Church is on missional communities, not on the building or “doing church.” Their ministry takes place in the community; in homes, the Senior Center – wherever two or more are gathered. What does it mean to be a missional community? Organizing Pastor Rev. Brandon Bailey writes in his blog, “This means that our primary mode of being the church here is lived out in small, neighborhood, missional communities. This means that we don’t need a huge space with a lot of rooms for programs.”

While purchasing and maintaining an older building has its challenges, Rev. Bailey states that “it also does something that we have been striving for from the beginning: it roots us into the story and fabric of this community and place. And what a story! With all that is being said about the demise of the church in our society, how wonderful it is to be able to reclaim this historic church building as a house of worship and prayer! That, in itself, proclaims the gospel in a culture where new is often better and old is easily cast aside. Thus we could proclaim a new work of God for today in an old place.”

For more information, visit Rev. Brandon Bailey’s blog at

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