New pastor reaches out with blend of services Minister seeks mix of traditional, modern

March 06, 1996|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,SUN STAFF

A new pastor is targeting young families and singles in Columbia's River Hill village in hopes of expanding his infant church and serving families beyond the year 2000.

Under the auspices of the Assemblies of God Church, the River Hill Church will offer a combination of contemporary and traditional services to meet church-goers' spiritual needs, said the church's pastor, the Rev. Gregory Todd Kittredge.

"We want to be a church that is relevant, that is able to address issues that are real in peoples' lives," said the 32-year-old Lutherville minister, who plans to move to Columbia.

Mr. Kittredge said he would like to hold the first Sunday service on April 14, a week after Easter. For now, the River Hill Church is still forming, with a core group of 25. Thirty other people are part of a singles group, which meets for Bible study and social activities at The Meeting House in the Oakland Mills village, he said.

Before starting this church, Mr. Kittredge was the singles and young adult minister at the Trinity Assemblies of God Church in Lutherville in Baltimore County. In September, he got the approval of the Potomac District Council of the Assemblies of God, which has 319 churches, to start the new church.

Once established, the River Hill Church will join several churches in the River Hill-Clarksville area and become the fourth Assemblies of God church in the county. The Pentecostal denomination is known for its celebratory style of worship.

To serve the River Hill residents, the River Hill Church will offer upbeat contemporary music and some drama, similarly to the style at Valley Brook Community Church, Mr. Kittredge said. To maintain tradition, members also will sing hymns.

Mr. Kittredge said he has a group of people committed to helping the church financially.

The congregation will move to the River Hill-Clarksville area once it can afford to move into a rented space, such as a school, in the western part of the county, Mr. Kittredge said. But because many of the schools are already packed with congregations and the rent can be expensive, he said, it is cheaper to continue renting at The Meeting House.

To become familiar with the area, Mr. Kittredge has visited River Hill to introduce himself and has visited several congregations in Columbia, noting the racially mixed congregations. That's something he said he'd like to duplicate.

"I think it's a sign of a healthy church," said Mr. Kittredge, who received a bachelor's degree in pastoral studies from North Central College in Minneapolis in 1989.

River Hill's present population of 2,000 is expected to more than triple over the next six years, according to representatives of the Rouse Co., Columbia's developer. The village, which has 625 single-family homes, will be completed in 1997.

With that imminent growth, Mr. Kittredge said there will definitely be spiritual needs to address.

Pub Date: 3/06/96

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