Have you heard? This year is the 150th Anniversary of Broadway’s ministry. In 1872, a dozen or so Swedish Immigrants founded the First Swedish Baptist Church of Kansas City with a mission to “Welcome the Stranger”.
The first pastor would hang out on the train platform and as trains arrived he would yell in Swedish, “Does anyone speak Swedish?”. Those who answered his question were offered community support in the form of jobs, housing, and friendship.
Here we are 150 years later, instead of a train platform we have personal networks and social media. Instead of “Does anyone speak Swedish?” we’re asking “Does anyone want to break out of harmful generational patterns to be church in a different way?”.
Our church founders were Swedish people who had just arrived in the American Midwest. For them, church was a place to speak their native language, to share culture and traditions of their homeland. For many of us, Broadway Church serves a similar purpose as one of the only places where we can feel like we’re speaking the same language as the people around us - to feel accepted and understood - to feel like we matter.
In the context of a nation divided and polarized around so many different issues, Broadway’s ministry to provide a loving space for curiosity, connection, and critical thinking is as important as ever. I look forward to sharing more with you about our ambitious plans for this anniversary year.