Home   |   Make a Gift   |   Contact Us
Story Wayside Christian Fellowship reaching its community with care

Wayside Christian Fellowship reaching its community with care

by Pastor Colleen J. Malone


Wayside Christian Fellowship (Disciples of Christ) will celebrate its first anniversary on April 20, 2015.

This small church start has had an amazing journey in the first year of its existence: beginning with advice and warm encouragement from Rev. Rick Spleth and the New Church Team, we have appreciated the welcome we have received into the Christian Church in Indiana/Disciples of Christ. A generous gift from the Region allowed us to purchase a projector, screen and laptop for the fellowship.

Wayside Christian Fellowship (Disciples of Christ)From the very beginning of our meeting and planning together, a mission has emerged and begun to gel. The Church Board and charter members embraced being a diverse and welcoming presence in downtown North Vernon, and they rolled up their sleeves to rehab an old building and repurpose it to become an Emergency Inclimate Weather Shelter. Wayside Inn began taking in folks in need of emergency shelter in late November 2014, and to date has housed over 50 individuals, ranging in age from 3 years to 75 years old. Over 550 nights of stay have been provided. Additionally, we have heard the stories and shared the struggles of single mothers, young families, and dozens of others in between.

We have helped people make necessary connections to find employment, to save for a deposit and first month’s rent on longer-term housing, to sign up for healthcare and other needed medical services. We have worshipped with brothers and sisters who found Wayside to be a welcoming and safe spiritual stop on their lives’ journeys. Pastor Colleen Malone has entered the church building on numerous occasions to find several guests reading the scripture and spending quiet time in prayer. Conversations take place around the kitchen table about faith journeys and spiritual struggles.

A large financial gift has secured the purchase of the building, and a donation of some adjacent property ensured enough parking and a perimeter around the building. Cordial relations with the neighboring businesses have helped with a fairly smooth start to the work. An outpouring of support and encouragement from the community—from the mayor of North Vernon to the Area Plan Commission and City Council, from the law enforcement community to students in the county schools holding canned food drives, to a myriad of individuals from throughout the community who have toted in cooked food, bottled water, blankets, coats, hats, gloves, toiletries and every other imaginable needed item, this work has been blessed and affirmed every single day since we began taking folks in.

We are hoping to establish and improve our building and facilities to serve as a vibrant focal point of mission and service to our neighborhood and the larger community for years to come. We thank you in advance for your prayers and support as we serve on the spiritual front lines in North Vernon and Jennings County!

Reprinted with permission of The Indiana Christian.