FALLBROOK, CALIFORNIA: Christ Church begins anew — again — in own space

Father Don Kroeger has led Christ Church in Fallbrook since it was still St. John’s Episcopal; after breaking away from the local Episcopal Diocese and joining a new national Anglican association, the congregation has lost its longtime home — but is now rebuilding in a new location

Christ Church is welcoming a new building for a new era

By DAN BENNETT
For the North County Times

The Fallbrook congregation, formerly known as St. John’s Anglican Church, has been conducting services at Living Waters Christian Fellowship Assembly of God Church for the past two years. The church began sharing space with Living Waters after legal battles over property rights and organizational authority allowed the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego to take over the former church property (which is now operating as St. John’s Episcopal).

The members at St. John’s Anglican had previously voted to secede from The Episcopal Church, which is the North American branch of the global Anglican Union, and reaffiliated with a more theologically traditional conservative archdiocese in Africa. Disagreements regarding homosexuality and biblical authority are at the core of an ongoing dispute between the Episcopal Church and hundreds of its congregations, as well as Anglican bishops in other countries.

After the move to the Living Waters campus, St. John’s Anglican changed its name to Christ Church. It’s now affiliated with the recently organized province of the Anglican Church in North America, which hopes to be recognized by the Anglican Union as a parallel North American branch of the global church.

Christ Church’s post-move growth takes a big step forward this week with the expected delivery of a five-piece manufactured building. After some preparation involving fire sprinklers, accessibility ramps and other matters, Christ Church will open its new space on the Living Waters campus very soon.

“We’re excited about the new building,” said the Rev. Don Kroeger, longtime pastor at Christ Church, and before that, St. John’s. “We have been blessed for two years to share space with our partners at Living Waters, and now we can continue to share land with them while setting up our own church on that land.”

Rick Crossley, the people’s warden at Christ Church, said the advantages will be many.

“For the past two years, we have been setting up for our particular Sunday church service, then taking down what we have set up following each service,” Crossley said. “Now we can set up our church for our needs and those items can remain in place.”

The new building allows Christ Church a visual setting of its own, Crossley said, and will help bring in new church members as Christ Church continues its efforts to grow.

The plan, he said, is to operate the church in the manufactured building until Christ Church can raise funds to buy property of its own. Then the church will move the building to the new land while it continues to raise funds to build a permanent structure.

“We are so fortunate to have had the generosity of spirit and sharing that we received from Living Waters,” Crossley said. “This is a partnership that we are sure will continue on some level even after we have found our own property.”

Kroeger said the congregation of about 125 has lost a few members since its move two years ago, but also gained a few.

“Our congregation has stayed resilient as we have gone through different changes,” he said. “This time is a turning point for us. We’re looking forward to the future.”

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