Our story finds its roots in the heart of another local body of our community, Cornerstone Church. It was in 2011 that the leaders of Cornerstone sensed God’s stirring for a new way forward, one that was less about expanding buildings and more about reproducing kingdom movements. In 2012, this stirring resulted in the launch of a second location of Cornerstone that would gather at Lee-Scott Academy, which came to be known as Cornerstone Church at Lee-Scott.
In the years that followed, God seemed to take this group of pioneers at Lee-Scott and forge them into a spiritual family. Through this process emerged a unique identity and culture that was still “Cornerstone” but also something very new.
Then, in early 2015, the leadership of Cornerstone once again sensed God’s stirring for a new way forward. But this time it was a call to reproduce the kingdom movement of Lee-Scott in the ultimate sense, to birth this body as a new church. So with the Holy Spirit’s leading and the faithful obedience of Cornerstone, Embrace Church was planted on January 10th, 2016.
The heart of Embrace Church is in our very name. Most are familiar with the word "embrace" having the meaning of holding a person closely in one's arms or to show great support. But for us, this word “embrace” acts as a kind of signpost, pointing us towards a particular scene of a story that Jesus once told.
It begins with a son making his way back home after a devastating season of trying to do life according to his own plans. But he's not returning to reclaim his role as a son, but that of a lowly servant. There's just been too much dishonor. Too much shame. Too many wrongs. He knows he's lost those family privileges that once belonged to him.
As he nears the end of his journey, the waves of fear, guilt, and shame come rolling over him. But it's in that final leg of the journey that everything changes. Jesus captures the scene in his own words...
"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him."
Jesus goes on to tell how the father insists that he be dressed with shoes, a fine robe, and the family ring, all symbols that say, “This is no servant, but my cherished son. And I’m restoring him with all the full rights and privileges to represent me again.” And then of course he throws a great party to celebrate!
As Embrace Church, we are people who have been captured by this scene and the one who first told of it. It is our heart to live as his disciples and join him in offering this kind of redemptive love to the world around us.