Several Orleans church pastors unite in pact to transform community

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 March 2016 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – These pastors are among the members of the newly formed PACT – Pastors Aligned for Community Transformation. The group pictured, includes, from left: Russ Peters from Alabama Full Gospel Fellowship, Randy LeBaron from the Albion Free Methodist Church, Tim Lindsay from Harvest Christian Fellowship in Albion, and Dan Thurber from Oak Orchard Assembly of God in Medina.

ALBION – Several church pastors in Orleans County have united in an effort to transform the community through the good news of Jesus Christ.

The church leaders are calling their new group, Pastors Aligned for Community Transformation (PACT). They worked together to plan the Good Friday service today at Alabama Full Gospel Fellowship on Route 63, south of Medina. That service starts today at 6:30 p.m. and six pastors have roles in the service, including serving communion.

The pastors in PACT have been getting together for several years to pray for each other and the community. It was an informal group. But they have given their group a name, developed a mission statement and a purpose

“Christ is Lord and we want to share him with the region,” said Randy LeBaron, pastor the past 12 years at the Albion Free Methodist Church.

The pastors say the group isn’t elitist. It’s open to Christians who share the PACT mission, an evangelical message that they say will take people from personal transformation to a bigger impact in the community.

The PACT leaders say they aren’t splitting hairs over denominational differences, or worship style preferences. They want to focus on prayer and the Gospel message.

“It’s a message of unity under Christ,” said Thurber, who has been pastor at Oak Orchard for 13 years. “The churches will come alongside each other and not compete. We’re stronger together.”

Tim Lindsay has served as pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Albion for 29 years. He said vibrant churches will help build a stronger community.

“When the church is revived, the community will be revived,” Lindsay said.

The churches will also host individual events open to other congregations. Albion Free Methodist, for example, hosts several movie nights with Christian-themed movies. Oak Orchard last week hosted a prayer meeting open to the community. Harvest Christian Fellowship is planning a trip to Israel and organizes the annual Father-Daughter Dance.

Peters has led the Alabama Full Gospel church for 3 ½ years. His father, Robert Terry Peters, was the church’s pastor for 30 years. The elder Peters met frequently to pray together with Thurber’s father, Stanley, who led Oak Orchard for 41 years.

Russ Peters said PACT provides the pastors with a support network.

“We minister to each other,” he said.

The Good Friday service this evening also will include Chad Wirth, pastor of Faith Covenant Fellowship in Medina, and Richard Allis, pastor of The Light of Victory Church in Albion.