Two local parishes are joining forces. Wesley United Methodist Church and The Edge took advantage of each other’s locations and blessings to join a collaboration that the pastors believe will benefit the overall effectiveness of each church and its ministries, while also expanding opportunities for the community.
The Edge will now hold their 6 p.m. services in the sanctuary at Wesley, located at Main and Broadway in Winona —only two short blocks down from its original location on Main and Sanborn. Thursday night Chi Alpha — The Edge’s campus ministry — will also enjoy use of the larger space. In return, The Edge will provide in-kind assistance to help enhance the offerings at Wesley.
“We have been blessed with great space and want to utilize the asset as best as we can to impact the greater Winona community with God’s Love in very practical ways,” Pastor Dale Arendt, from Wesley, said. “We were aware of this wonderful Christian ministry — The Edge and Chi Alpha — that was in need of more space; thus we felt motivated to chat about how we can create a strategic collaboration that would benefit all.”
While The Edge and Chi Alpha were in need of more space, Wesley was looking for resources to further develop some of its own ministry offerings. “Amos [Worship Director at The Edge] has been very intentional about providing his skill set, but will be even more so in helping to develop younger musicians, and collaborating on worship training,” Pastor Chuck Peterson, from The Edge, said. “Helping ministries grow and creating a strong foundation is very important to us.”
Physical changes to Wesley have also been planned with the partnership in mind, including video and sound upgrades along with remodeling of the altar space.
The relationship between the two churches began about five years ago, when The Edge was new to the area and Pastor Justin Halbersma was just joining the Welsey family. Pastor Justin and Pastor Steph Peterson, Campus Pastor for Chi Alpha, met and instantly connected through their heart for reaching college students.
Through this relationship, Wesley reached out to Chi Alpha a year ago to offer help in any way. When the Chi Alpha ministry exploded with more than 130 college students attending each Thursday evening service, more space became a necessity. The church, too, was seeing similar growth.
“I saw back then what a huge heart the Wesley Church had for the students of WSU,” Pastor Steph said. “Chi Alpha could not be ministering to college students as it is now without this collaboration we have developed with the Wesley congregation. They are an answer to my prayers!”
Both churches are adjacent to the WSU campus which made it the perfect fit. The location at Wesley also provides better parking and handicap accessibility that The Edge was not able to provide at its existing location.
The Edge and Chi Alpha will still utilize its building on Sanborn — now called its Sanborn Campus and Wesley the Broadway Campus. It will serve as the administrative offices for the church and continue to provide ministry space for teens, children and other small groups within the church. The Chi Alpha Student Center will still be a place where WSU students can hang out, study and enjoy refreshments at the coffee bar.
“It is unique for two separate denominations to work so closely like this. We have both embraced it and it’s a very cool testimony of the bigger body with a Kingdom mentality.”
The Edge will hold its Grand Opening for the community on Sunday, Sept. 8, beginning the sermon series, “There’s an App for That.” Service begins at 6 p.m. A staffed nursery and preschool program is available for families. Elementary children will take part in an energy-packed children’s service as well.
Wesley will begin its new sermon series — Discovering Your Gift: God’s Spiritual Investment in You — on Sept. 8 as well. A traditional service is held at 9 a.m. with a contemporary service at 10:30 a.m. with children’s ministry.
For more information about the two churches visit: winonaedge.org and winonawesley.org.