A cold rain on Sunday made the leaders of a new congregation in north Minneapolis bring their ribbon-cutting inside. But the inclement weather could not chill the spirits at Kingdom Life Church.
For as the choir raised its voices in song and the worshipers clapped heartily along, there was a fiery sense of renewal and revival in the air. Kingdom Life, a mere 22 months old, was having its first service in its new home at 3751 Sheridan Av. N., after buying the building from a Lutheran congregation.
The sanctuary was standing room only.
“We are a work in progress,” said David A. Keaton, founding pastor of the nondenominational church. He added that there was no need to apologize that the carpeting had not been replaced nor the seats upgraded. “We’re here to do God’s work.”
The sense of newness was evident Sunday. The sign outside the building was makeshift. Natty and polite young ushers, who helped senior citizens to their seats, had to ask their elders about the location of the bathrooms. And the surrounding streets were choked with cars, causing some older members to walk a block or two in the rain.
But those challenges were minor for the celebrants. Praise dancers delighted the congregation. And the pastor preached a message about faith and tenacity, underscoring the hope of many that Kingdom Life will be a blessing for its members, and, especially, the larger community.
“I believe that we’re called for this season and this time,” said Twin Cities actor and singer Dennis Spears, who has recently become a deacon at Kingdom Life. “I’m just happy to be there serving with our anointed leader.”
The church grew out of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, a prominent north Minneapolis congregation where Keaton was pastor. When he left, he was followed by some high-wattage members, including Spears and minister of music Sanford Moore, founder of Moore by Four. He was on piano on Sunday while Moore by Four singer Yolande Bruce conducted the choir.
The church body is predominantly black but welcomes members of different races. It practices a theology of radical inclusion. This summer, Kingdom Life became what may be the first black church to march in the Twin Cities Pride parade.
“Our mission is spread the love of Christ to all people,” said Keaton. “I hope and pray that 10 years from now, that we have the same energy and passion to love each and every one.”
He added that as the church settles in, the “challenges that we have, small and big, are all opportunities to show a divine love.”