OUR STORY

While prayer walking in the city of Toledo in 2005, Rev. Cheri Holdridge began to get a deep sense of calling, that God wanted to do a new thing. Cheri watched and listened as God unfolded a dream for a new community of Jesus followers – a movement for progressive people concerned about problems in the world, for those disconnected from organized religion, and for persons longing for an authentic community with which to follow Jesus in the ways of justice and compassion. 


The vision emerged for The Village, a movement of people who connect to God, care for one another, and reach outside themselves to make the world a better place. As the vision began to grow in Pastor Cheri's heart and soul, she shared her thoughts with her husband, Kurt Young. When Kurt and Cheri had met in 1996, he would have called himself a Christian but was not actively involved in a church. Together they helped create an alternative coffee house worship experience at Christ Church UM in Findlay Ohio. That coffee house was one of the many experiences that prepared them to plant The Village today. 

Moving to Toledo in 1999, Cheri was the turn-around pastor for Central UMC, and they experienced a 150% increase in worship attendance during her tenure. By 2005, God began calling Cheri to move from the relative comfort of this established congregation, and to step out on faith and be a church planter. 

After extensive training for Cheri, and evaluation of both her and the plan by church planting experts and denominational officials, The Village Church was approved as an official church plant in 2008. In July 2008, Cheri began work full-time as the planting pastor. The Village Church is a unique partnership of two denominations committed to creating new communities for the 21st century: The United Church of Christ (UCC) and United Methodist Church (UMC). Both denominations have been faithful communities for Christians since the founding years of this country. The movement of Jesus has a long history of building upon tradition, and then taking risks to innovate and reach new people groups. The Village Church is committed to being a new church for a new generation of Jesus' followers.

 

WHAT IS THE "VILLAGE CHURCH?"

  • The Village Church is a missional, progressive, urban church plant. Our starting place is West Toledo, but The Village will spread across NW Ohio as a multi-site movement.
  • The name is based on the idea that "It takes a village to raise a child." In a community, or a village, people care for one another; know one another; share intimacy and authenticity; and live more simply.



WHAT ARE THE SPIRITUAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE VILLAGE?

Jesus: Our life together will be built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ's life and ministry. Jesus came to this earth to proclaim that we are all beloved children of God. He preached justice for the oppressed and life that overcomes death. Jesus is our model for how to live balanced lives of prayer and action in the world.

Prayer: The vision for The Village has been birthed through a process of intentional prayer.  Prayerful discernment will guide the development of this ministry.


WHAT IS THE MISSION OF THE VILLAGE?

To follow Jesus and change the world.

WHAT IS THE VISION OF THE VILLAGE?

Every Sunday when we gather for worship we read a statement of who we are. The statement gives a vision of who we seek to be in the world:

We are the Village Church. When we gather in community we remember that God is with us. We know that we are imperfect people who make mistakes. We give thanks that God loves us anyway. In this community we practice patience, compassion, and forgiveness. When we leave this gathering, we go out to share God’s healing love with a broken world. We are Jesus’ instruments of hope in our world. We are followers of Jesus and we can change the world!


WHAT ARE THE CORE VALUES?

Authentic relationships and community.
Balance of prayer and action in our lives.
Compassion for persons living in poverty.

 

VILLAGE COMMITMENT TO INCLUSION

On February 7, 2010, The Village Church adopted our “Statement of Commitment at a Reconciling United Methodist Church and as an Open and Affirming United Church of Christ”

As the Village Church we affirm our desire to be connected both to the Reconciling Ministries Network of the United Methodist Church and to the Open and Affirming Program of the United Church of Christ. In the Village Church, we invite and welcome into the full life and ministry of The Village Church persons of every gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, physical and mental ability, age, race, nationality, economic, and social status. No matter who your are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome in The Village Church.


IS THE VILLAGE CONNECTED TO OTHER CHURCHES?

The Village Church is a partnership of the United Church of Christ (UCC) and the United Methodist Church (UMC). We are grateful for support and resources from: the Northwest Ohio Association of the UCC, the Ohio Conference of the UCC, the Maumee Watershed District of the UMC, the West Ohio Conference of the UMC; and local congregations; Park Congregational UCC, Toledo, Ohio; Church of St. Andrew UMC, Toledo, Ohio; Sylvania UCC, Sylvania, Ohio; Ginghamsburg UMC, Tipp City, OH; and Epicenter DC UMC, Washington DC.