A church is started in Waltham
In 2010, a group of friends from Antioch Community Church in Brighton, MA (originally named “Community of Faith Christian Fellowship”), were sitting around a table dreaming together. They dreamed about what it would be like to have a church in the heart of Waltham that experienced God’s transformation by being revived in God, refreshed in community, and released in purpose. That dream has become a reality. Over 200 people now worship with Antioch Waltham through Sunday morning worship services, weekly Intentional Community Groups, and so much more. However, Antioch Waltham’s story ultimately began long before this, in 1987, when a new movement was born.
A movement is born
This story ultimately began in 1987 when another group of friends, including Jimmy and Laura Seibert and Mark and Susan Buckner, began asking God to “dream His dreams through them.” By the early 1990’s, Antioch Ministries International (AMI) was established as an international missions organization based on the church in Antioch in Acts 11 and 13. The hope of this group was to become a group of churches connected through the power and work of the Holy Spirit and by a desire to love God, love one another, and love those who do not know Jesus. After AMI had started churches all over the world, Sean and Laura Richmond began dreaming with God about what it would be like to start a church in Boston, MA. In 1998, they moved with 5 others to start a church in Waltham with the vision of becoming a diverse people, full of faith in God, compassionately reaching the world around them. They not only wanted to plant a church, but to establish a New England hub of the Antioch church planting movement. This desire has come to fruition through Antioch New England (ANE), our local missions and church planting organization.
That early vision has become a reality and there are now churches in Brighton, MA (Antioch Brighton), Beverly, MA (Antioch Beverly)(originally named “The Harbor”), Waltham, MA (Antioch Waltham), Chandler, AZ (Antioch Phoenix), and Quincy, MA (Antioch Quincy). ANE currently has missionaries in North and Northwest Africa, India and Cambodia.
The vision expands to Waltham
In September 2010, The River began holding weekly celebration services at the Embassy Cinemas, right next to the Charles River. The name, “The River Church” was chosen because the movie theater physically backed up to the Charles River and the team felt that this metaphor described what they had been sensing God was speaking - that this church would be a source of life for Waltham and the surrounding area.
In 2011, we celebrated our one-year anniversary as a church with our first baptisms at the Waltham Charles River boat launch. Six months later, we purchased a building formerly used as a Moose Lodge and began holding services right off of Moody Street. We have loved having a permanent place of worship that is so centrally located to the excellent local shops and amazing food from all over the world on Moody Street. Having our place of worship on 17 Spruce Street has allowed us to become a place of stability for the other Antioch Greater Boston churches as well.
One church, multiple locations
In recent years, The River, CFCF, The Harbor, officially changed their names to Antioch Community Church in order to clarify purpose, strengthen unity and establish a stronger connection to our sending movement of churches, The Antioch Movement. Our name change serves to affirm our belonging in this greater community of churches and that the picture of Antioch as seen in Acts 11 and Acts 13 is part of our DNA and the foundation of how we want to live as followers of Jesus.
Since then, we have also started churches in Quincy and Roxbury, and believe that God will continue to expand His kingdom. Whether in the Boston area or the remote corners of the earth, our passion is to see the Church advance the Kingdom of God around the world through evangelism and discipleship because we believe that the local church can change the world.
Waltham has continued to thrive
God has given us a vision for reaching the world through us, beginning right here in Waltham! One way in which God has spoken to us in this season has led to the establishment of a local ministry that we call “Mosaic”, which flows from our church’s overarching desire to see “the beauty of family restored” in every different sphere of life. Our initial strategy is to respond to the foster-care crisis in Massachusetts, and in the future we hope to expand even beyond that.
Because there has been so much life here in Waltham, God also enabled us to start a second service in 2018, when we started holding two Sunday Morning Celebration Services every week. God has truly been at work in fulfilling that initial vision of becoming a diverse people, full of faith in God, who compassionately reach the world around them.