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Last updated August 09.

Aug. 6, 2012 issue

Construction projects build kingdom in Philadelphia

By Sheldon C. Good Mennonite World Review

PHILADELPHIA — Nearly two dozen adults and youth from Franconia Mennonite Church served here recently as part of an effort to literally build the kingdom of God.

Bekah Ford, Issac Moyer and Derek Cassel, volunteers from Franconia Mennonite Church in Telford, Pa., place a chalk line on a tool storage structure being erected in Kingdom Builders Construction’s future headquarters in a North Philadelphia warehouse.

Bekah Ford, Issac Moyer and Derek Cassel, volunteers from Franconia Mennonite Church in Telford, Pa., place a chalk line on a tool storage structure being erected in Kingdom Builders Construction’s future headquarters in a North Philadelphia warehouse. — Photo by Sheldon C. Good/MWR

The volunteers ventured from suburban Telford to work with Kingdom Builders Construction, an Anabaptist-related nonprofit, on July 21. They nailed, drilled and hauled materials to help convert a 6,000-square-foot section of a large warehouse.

Kingdom Builders Construction, or KBC, is turning the old warehouse into a multipurpose space that will include a workshop, offices, material storage and rooms to host volunteers.

Also, a new congregation, Christ-Centered Church, will eventually worship there in a makeshift sanctuary.

Christ-Centered is affiliated with Koinonia Fellowship of Churches, an Anabaptist network of churches and ministries. The congregation held its first worship service on Dec. 25 and currently numbers 60 to 80 people, about half of whom are ex-offenders and their families.

“The Lord laid on our hearts to minister with these guys,” said Pastor Juan Marrero, 38, who is also executive director of nearby Crossroads Community Center. “We don’t just take an offering, and we don’t just pray; we teach what offering is and what prayer is.”

Marrero is a former associate pastor at Second Mennonite Church in North Philadelphia. The church blessed him to leave and plant Christ-Centered.

Over the past three years, KBC volunteers — most of whom are Anabaptist — have worked on dozens of projects across the city. Most work is done on Mennonite facilities, some for other Christian groups or people in need.

Mennonite Central Committee East Coast and the Kingdom Builders Anabaptist Network of Greater Philadelphia formed KBC in 2009. KBC is one of 20 Mennonite, Brethren in Christ and Anabaptist-leaning ministries and congregations that are part of the Kingdom Builders network.

The network is the primary partner for MCC in Philadelphia.

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