Since 1858, the Bethany Community Center has been a part of the Itasca community.
For 160 years, we have been sharing the hope of Jesus. The message hasn’t change and nor has our commitment to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength and with all our mind and our neighbor as ourselves.
The time has come for us to return our focus on what matters most.
In the first century, the synagogue was the center of all community life. Within the walls, people connected, learned from one another, supported one another and people grew relationally and spiritually. The Community Center is committed to returning to this idea. We hope to be a catalyst for family, the community and even, the nation. Hence, the reason we offer a variety of ministries for children, students and adults. We are continually looking for where God may be at work and then getting involved.
The Community Center is in its infancy. We understand our mission to be the ‘sent ones’ to share the Good News of Jesus in our neighborhood and community. We accomplish our mission by establishing multiple missional expressions (We like the term - Coracle) operating in concert to reach those in need of redemption over condemnation, transformation over conformity and restoration over religion. We envision people becoming connected to the The Center through learning from one another, supporting one another, growing relationally and most importantly, spiritually.
History tells us of the Gaelic monks from Ireland and the western coast of modern-day Scotland, who re-Christianized Britain and Western Europe after the fall of Rome. They were wild people from a wild land, who harnessed their considerable passions and energies into Christian devotion.
Rather than undergoing complete personality transplants, the Gaelic monks disciplined their passions without extinguishing them. They retained their sense of rowdiness and their love of wild. They harnessed their love of drinking, singing and storytelling only to direct it toward their first love, Jesus. They practiced radically hospitality, welcoming all who came.
They were deeply shaped by their faith and saw the Trinity as a framework for all human interactions, highly valuing community, reconciliation and partnership. As a result, their monasteries weren’t the cold stone castles of the later Medieval period, but Christian villages of agriculture, study, safety and meaningful relationships.
But above all they were missionaries - ‘sent ones.’ When the head of the monastery considered certain monks to be ready for missionary service – after years of learning and habit-forming – they would be sent out to take the Good News to those who had never heard it. This was done in a most bizarre fashion. The Gaelic monks were commissioned by their village and placed in a coracle – a small, circular boat made of wickerwork, covered with a watertight material – and pushed out from shore with the prayer that the Lord of the wind and the waves would take them to the very people He wanted them to save. Coracles were used by fisherman at the time and were propelled with a paddle, but the missionary monks were given no such implement. They were entirely at the mercy of the wind and the tides. Wherever they ran aground, that was where they were to commence their missionary work of brokering peace, preaching the Good News and founding new missional villages like the ones from which they’d come.
These weird monks saved Europe from the darkness of constant war, bloodshed, superstition and disease and helped the continent re-embrace Christianity and forge a new era of Christendom. We at the Center look to do the same.The Center is more than a church. It’s a collection of coracles connected with a single goal: Renew Christ’s movement in America.
'The Center' is striving to Become the life giving center of relationships in the community by uniquely connecting with the community.
Our vision is to become THE CENTER of a new Christian awakening in America challenging the status quo to go and redeem, transform and restore all in Christ's name.
We are a unique organization focused on following God into the community to offer a foretaste of heaven. Our structure reflects the biblical principles founded in Ephesians 4 to ensure all of the marks of a missional expression have an equal voice and are held in tension with the others.