By Mac Cerullo
---- — AMESBURY — An upstart nondenominational church in Amesbury is seeking to spread the seeds of hope among people by offering an alternative worship experience from what the mainstream churches offer.
Seeds of Hope Mission Church, which holds its services in a small suite in the Boston North Technology Park rather than a traditional church building, was started earlier this year by Amesbury residents Bob Ingalls and Betty Aldrich, along with other like-minded residents who were inspired to reach out to those in need.
Ingalls, who serves as the pastor, said the church’s purpose is to minister to the needs of impoverished communities while planting the seeds of faith, hope and love through participation in worship, study, retreat and mission.
The church initially started as a book group in the fall of 2011, and over time, some of the group members decided they wanted to start a new church, Ingalls said. In the following months, the members discussed what kind of church they wanted to form and what kind of church fits into today’s society.
Eventually, the group determined that the church could be an alternative from the mainstream congregational churches for people who are looking for a spiritual experience rather than religion.
“So many people that are in churches, or have left churches, we’re looking for what are they’re looking for,” Ingalls said. “And we’re discovering as we go along that they are looking for a spiritual experience, so we’re trying to meet those needs while going out to the people.”
Once that was established, Seeds of Hope Mission Church officially opened its doors in January, and it has been holding services at 10:30 a.m. every Sunday.
Seeds of Hope Mission Church is non-denominational and the hour-long services focus primarily on praise music. The service also features video clips on a projector and a weekly message. Although most of the people who regularly attend services are Amesbury residents, all are welcome to attend. Ingalls said his hope is that more people will come once word starts to spread.
“Piece by piece we’re trying to put it together and grow, and it’s a matter of getting our name out there so people understand who we are,” Ingalls said. “Saying you’re contemporary is great, but we worship the glory of God, we are here building this for the glory of God.”
Beyond simply being an alternative spiritual experience from mainstream worship, Seeds of Hope Mission Church also strives to help people in need. Ingalls said that goal was the basis for the church’s name; the church’s mission is to plant seeds of hope in those in need.
“The very important piece is the mission, the mission is bringing the word of God, the light of Jesus and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to the people that are either unchurched, or they just don’t know how to reach out,” Ingalls said. “Our focus started out as ‘Jesus took his ministry to the people’ so we try to fashion our ministry after that.”
Ingalls said the church also believes in what he called radical hospitality, or going the extra mile to make sure everyone feels welcomed and loved. For instance, somebody from the church is at the building’s front door when services are being held to welcome guests, lead them up the elevator and then bring them to the church.
“We offer them stuff to drink and eat, and we also offer the word of God, and that is the core of what we do here,” Ingalls said. “The hospitality doesn’t end there, it’s getting folks involved, welcoming them so that this is their home, so they want to come back and they want to be loved. Love is a very important thing, it’s not about the politics or the administrative pieces, it’s about God and it’s about worship.”
Seeds of Hope Mission Church meets in Building C, Suite 360 of the Boston North Technology Park at 110 Haverhill Road in Amesbury. The church can be reached at 978-204-5296.