American culture is becoming fragmented and disconnected. A study published in the American Sociological Review noted how Americans are more socially isolated now than they were thirty years ago.

Sociologist Ray Oldenburg found that healthy communities have face-to-face gathering places between work and home. These places—the coffee shop in Italy, the Biergarten in Germany, the café in France—serve as anchors for the community. They are places of conversation, mutual aid, and cooperative learning. He called these “third places,” and noted that Americans have too few of them.

We believe that God is leading Epiphany to address this problem in our local area. God has blessed us with the resources and partnerships to provide our community with a unique Third Place centered on finding meaning through serving neighbors.

By providing these social service opportunities, we also welcome everyone into our life together centered in the crucified, risen, ruling, and returning Jesus. He is our reason for building Epiphany into a Third Place.

Our vision is to be a community that puts Jesus first, neighbors second, and ourselves third. We gather to be served by him, so we can grow to love as he loves. Because Jesus has put us first, we can put ourselves third.

Building this kind of Third Place begins with a centered life together. Fifty-two weeks a year—winter, spring, summer, and fall—we gather around Jesus to grow in his Word.

We recognize that many people in our neighborhood are not ready to let their lives revolve around Jesus just yet. For us, this is the “main gear” in the blueprint for our Third Place. Jesus is at the center because our worshipping community rotates around him. Like a motor turns interconnected gears, Jesus is the power in our desire to be a force for good in our neighborhood.

The “outer gears” represent our social service efforts. Through these programs and events, we want to partner with all willing neighbors, regardless of their spiritual or philosophical convictions. Our goal is to provide space for people to come together around self-giving service to some of our most vulnerable neighbors—families with young children and limited resources to support them, refuges and immigrants, and the elderly.

We want to raise up Jesus as our highest good and the best hope for this world. We welcome anyone who wants to follow Jesus with us. If you’re not ready for that, but you care about this neighborhood, we want to find a way to work with you. Let’s build a Third Place where people can be united around meaningful service to a neighbor.