On April 26, Beneficent Congregational Church (Providence, RI) called Todd and Nicole to be their co-pastors. Beneficent Church was founded in 1743 by a group of Congregationalists who had a revival experience during the Great Awakening and were moved by the Holy Spirit to start a mission to the working-class people on the west side of the Providence River. The founding pastor, Joseph Snow, Jr., was a carpenter by trade.

Over the years, Beneficent Church grew in size and influence. The working-class neighborhood gentrified and became a place where the wealthy and powerful lived. Beneficent responded by adjusting its mission to reach its new neighbors, many of whom found a church home there. The church’s pastors continued to be very creative and mission-oriented, beginning what were at the time cutting edge programs such as children’s Sunday school, and taking advantage of the new medium of radio to broadcast their sermons.

In more recent history, Beneficent Church, like many established, mainline churches, has experienced significant decline in its membership. Beneficent Church has called Nicole and me in the hopes that we might help the congregation “redevelop,” that is, re-establish a vital relationship to its community in order to grow in membership and mission impact. It’s a challenge we look forward to.