Non-traditional Church Moves to New Building

Non-traditional Church Moves to New Building

When Rev. Michael Laird started North Shore Chapel in Danvers, Mass., in 2002, he wanted to find a worship location that would attract people who had given up on church or religion.

Laird, a church planter with the Christian Reformed Church, found the perfect location: a former movie theater called “Hollywood Hits.”

After a few years, though, he realized that the theater might be too non-traditional. Although the congregation had grown to around 50 people, Laird wanted to increase that rate of growth.

So North Shore Chapel recently began worshipping on Sunday mornings in a very traditional venue: a former Catholic church. Its new home is the former St. Alphonsus Church, closed by the Archdiocese of Boston in 2004.

Since the move, attendance has increased to about 80 worshippers for the 11 a.m. Sunday service, Laird says. Some of these attendees had never gone to church before.

Although the old brick and stained-glass church looks traditional, the North Shore Chapel worship experience retains a modern, non-traditional edge that focuses on bringing contemporary culture and media into worship. Videos, secular music, and art often help illustrate the week’s message.

“All that we do aims to communicate God’s love and truth in clear, practical ways that speak to our day and times,” writes Laird on the North Shore Chapel web site.

“We believe that the church is not a name or a building, but people. Because every person is uniquely created and equally important, we provide support and guidance in discovering how every member is shaped for God’s mission.”

North Shore Chapel receives grant funding from Christian Reformed Home Missions.