It was not until early 2019 that the town of Indian Head captured our hearts. As military retirees, we were reassigned to the Branch Clinic on Naval Support Facility Indian Head, and suddenly found ourselves frequenting this quaint community. We were drawn to the hometown charm, but we also began to see the needs and the absence of opportunity. We saw cute little houses with manicured lawns on one side of the street and neglected, seemingly forgotten apartments and townhomes on the other. We saw a community that had once thrived, but now suffered. We also saw hope, and what could be.
Every time we had an appointment at the Branch Clinic, we would meet a new corpsman, typically at their first duty station. We remember being in their shoes, excited to be at our first assignment, young and away from home, desperately wanting to make connections. As a career military guy (and most of that career deployed), Rick saw young troops who needed mentoring, a community that would invest in them and someone to help them find the balance of service to country, family and community.
We saw the need for opportunities and connection. Unfortunately with little in the way of small businesses and few groups in the area doing outreach on base, the options were limited. At the same time, a little coffee shop named Clarity opened in town. As a full-time grad student, Jenn spent many hours there studying and getting to know the people. We watched Clarity's owner strive to make his business a success. We made friends with the employees, who all worked to create a welcoming space for people to socialize and do life. We spent Saturdays listening to stories of Indian Head's history.
We saw the economic disparity, felt the need for hope and understood the weariness caused by racial division that hinders so many of our communities. We also heard about their visionary young mayor. We experienced the hearts of people working to bring businesses back. We saw the commitment of people who wanted stronger relationships in their community. And then, somewhere amid doctor appointments and really good coffee, new friendships and old stories, on a sunny Saturday afternoon, God spoke to us. “This is it – right here in this town, this is where you plant my church." Our calling was clear and specific: Show the people of Indian Head they are not forgotten, show them they are seen, known, and loved by God. It was in that defining moment that BRIDGE Church was born.
BRIDGE Church is the first church plant out of Healing Place Waldorf. Healing Place is part of the larger New Life Network, a vibrant, living network of churches in Maryland and Virginia. At our core, we believe we are called to plant new churches to reach more communities for Jesus Christ. We believe the Church and our communities are stronger together.