Posted in news on September 15, 2017 10:23 am EDT

Simple Structure, Complex Outreach

Multicultural, faith- and family-focused Cambridge, Mass., church marks centennial with new documentary focused on stories of multigenerational individuals and families.

Abundant Life Church, Cambridge, MA


 

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TAGS: architectural design, community outreach, storytelling,

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By Church Designer Staff

Abundant Life Church (ALC), a growing and vibrant multicultural congregation in the city of Cambridge, Mass., is celebrating its 100th anniversary with the release of a new documentary, “One Hundred Years, One Hundred Voices of Faith.”

The film, slated to premiere on Sept. 29, 2017, at the Putnam Ave Upper School in Cambridge, weaves together the stories of families and individuals from multiple generations who have been touched by the church since it first opened its doors a century ago.

"This film helps show how faith has meaning that goes beyond the front doors of the church, and lasts throughout the ages.”

—Myriam Joseph, Member, Abundant Life Church, Cambridge, MA

“Other churches may come and go, but ALC has been a cornerstone in this community for generations, helping build, grow, and shape the lives of families,” says Bishop Lawrence A. Ward, senior pastor of Abundant Life Church. “We wanted to chronicle those experiences so that others can see and learn how faith and life really do connect.”

“It’s not just about people dealing with tragedy or struggle,” says Rev. Dr. Virginia Ward, associate pastor at ALC. “The film is about how ALC has shaped – and continues to shape - the fabric of the lives of diverse families. The reality is that faith – no matter who you are or where you come from - influences our character, how we treat our spouses, how we develop our careers and do our work. The voices in this film tell the story, and their stories are very powerful.”

Those voices, in keeping with the centenary, include ALC members both young and old sharing stories of joys, pains and faith’s triumph over challenges. The common thread is that everyone who told their story felt the church was committed to their well-being.

“The film is meant to inform, encourage, and empower people. But it is also a tool for posterity – something we can pass on to generations to come,” says Bishop Ward. “I grew up in this church. My father, who is now 93 years old, served as pastor before me. I can tell you that young people have always been a vital part of ALC, and we are still connecting with children, youth, and millennials - as well as different people from all parts of the world.”

ALC was born in 1917 as a spiritual refuge for immigrants predominantly from Barbados, and has since evolved into a thriving, multicultural beacon of hope in the community. It has survived a devastating fire, shifting economic tides in the surrounding community, and the rapid secularization of society at large.

Today, the building – a modest wood frame structure – still sits just blocks from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), two secular giants of learning and culture. Students from those and other Boston area campuses, while often transient, still somehow find their way to ALC’s programs of ministry, service, prayer, and worship. And membership continues to grow.

“No matter how old you are, or what you’re going through, it seems there is always something the church can offer to help you get through it,” reports church member Myriam Joseph. “It’s not just about learning scripture, it’s about applying those lessons to everyday life. This film helps show how faith has meaning that goes beyond the front doors of the church, and lasts throughout the ages.”

Another young woman on ALC’s Facebook page writes, “Been looking around and praying for a lively, spirit-full, positive, forward-moving, energetic church where I can grow and be challenged. I think I found it at ALC. Grateful to God for bringing me here.”

The film "One Hundred Years, One Hundred Voices of Faith," was produced by Hull Bay Productions.

 

 

 

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Abundant Life Church

 

 

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