Freedom Church finds space in Beeman | News

Freedom Church, a new non-denominational congregation that was planted in the city just over a year ago, is going to school in Gloucester.

The new church has found space to hold its next monthly services at Beeman Elementary School on Cherry Street.

Senior Pastor Kody Aten said the church was ministering through a series of community events and group nights as it moved to Gloucester and pandemic restrictions on gatherings eased.

Last September, the church held a free fun day at Burnham’s Field with bouncy castles and other activities that attracted more than 100 families, Aten said. He followed this with a Fall Fest and pumpkin carving contest in October, and in December the church held a “Christmas at Cape Ann” event at Cruiseport Gloucester, offering free photos with Santa, who attracted over 100 people.

“We are part of the community and we want to be a blessing,” Aten said. But, the questions he kept asking were where is the church and when will it hold services? So Aton and other church members started looking for space.

Aten, whose eldest son Karter, 5, is a kindergartener at Beeman, said he met Principal Jodi Gennodie in the fall and, after several months, the church got administration approval. to rent a space in the school.

Church leaders plan to begin monthly services on Sunday, May 1 at 10 a.m. They also plan to continue community events, including an Easter Eggstravaganza at Burnham’s Field on April 9.

Aten said he was told by a city public works worker that this type of arrangement – for a church to meet in a school – is rare in Gloucester.

The church uses the school space only for services, and its equipment and other items will be dismantled afterwards. The additional revenue from renting the space will be a blessing for the school district, Aten noted.

Aten said it was difficult to gauge how many worshipers might attend, but he estimates there could be 75 at the start. The service will be contemporary, with an orchestra, and there will be a children’s ministry at the same time. The plan is to use the cafeteria and some classrooms.

After the summer, church leaders plan to reevaluate whether to go weekly as services incorporate video and technology, which is a lot of work to produce.

Aten, 31, who grew up in North Carolina, lived in Gloucester in 2014 while working for Netcast Church in Danvers. The former Natick resident has since returned to Gloucester with his family to found Freedom Church. His youngest son, Greyson, is 2 and he said he and his wife have another baby on the way.

Freedom Church is part of the SEND church planting network, which Aten says has taken off in the Boston area with churches in Danvers and Natick. In addition to working at Netcast in a variety of roles from 2016 to 2019, Aten was a pastoral associate at Milestone Church in Natick.

“Everyone is welcome in our church,” Aten said.

Personal Editor Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-675-2714 or by email at [email protected]

Jerry B. Hatch