Focus on Faith: Church Climbs to Harmar with New Pastor | News, Sports, Jobs

Pastor Eddie Atkinson recently planted Rivers Church at the Knights of Columbus in Marietta. (Photo by Michele Newbanks)

A new church has been planted in Harmar, just two blocks from its original property.

Although the name may sound familiar, there is a new pastor at the helm.

Pastor Eddie Atkinson had his first pastorate in 2002 in Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee, before serving as a pastor in Morgantown and for six years at the Assembly of God in Vienna.

“It’s a church plant. It is a new church. he said. “In the Assembly of God, they had the Rivers of Life Church two blocks away.”

He said the Rivers of Life church was in bad shape and their pastor had quit.

“The Ohio Ministry Network chose to close the church because of the small congregation and the property was in such poor condition,” he said. “The Assemblies of God, when they sold the building, could not get the full value because of the renovations that had to take place.”

He said it was fortuitous that they could find the Knights of Columbus as a place of service.

“It happened to be two blocks from our original property, but it worked and each time we found this facility, we reconnected to Harmar,” said Atkinson.

He said they attracted a few people who went to Rivers of Life, but there are different reasons why former members did not return.

“I”I guess they are waiting. I hope that in time we can overcome what happened,“said Atkinson. “None of us participated in the decision-making, but we can all come back together.

Before planting Rivers Church, he and his wife, Michelle, took a few years away from the pastorate.

“We were pastors in Vienna. March 31, 2019 was my last Sunday there,” he said.

He had a secular job at the city of Vienna, and without overtime, the couple felt it was necessary to retire from the pastorate.

“Our initial thought was to take a year or two and see what else was going on and focus on the secular work,” he explained. “I had no idea that three months after we quit at the church, I lost my job at the city.”

Some time after leaving the Vienna Assembly of God, the church closed. The Assemblies of God did not have a congregation in northern Wood County or Washington County.

“Things worked out where we felt the need and the call to plant this church,” he said.

Although the services are more traditional, they play contemporary music.

“Churches planted today are more like a cafe,” Atkinson noted. “We have nothing extraordinary. Right now we just have a public address system that another church donated to us from Newcomerstown. That’s all we have at the moment is the PA system and a communion set.

He said that by renting from KofC, they don’t start out in debt. They charge a reasonable fee for the given time.

One of the goals of the church is to serve with the whole family in mind.

“It has always been an important part of our ministry to focus on the whole family – everyone from infants to older adults.”

He said that now that they are back in Harmar, they want to reach out to the community and meet people’s needs.

“I was led to give the message that our God is great and the Lord reigns”, he said.


If you are going to

¯ Who: Rivers Church.

¯ When: 10 a.m. on Sunday.

¯ Where: Knights of Columbus Hall, 312 Franklin Street, Marietta.

Source: Pastor Eddie Atkinson.

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Jerry B. Hatch