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Spiritual Spotlight: Two new congregations find home in Blyn chapel
A vacant church in Blyn is now the new home for two new congregations.
Hosting services out of Woodman Chapel, formerly the Gardiner Country Chapel, 342 Guiles Road, The Gathering at Blyn, a non-denominational Christian church, led by the Rev. Howie Bennett, starts services at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 2, and each Sunday afterward while Joshua Sylvester, messianic teacher/pastor, continues to lead services for Kehilat Shabbat, Hebrew for Sabbath Fellowship, each Saturday at 10:30 a.m.
Sylvester said the congregation of about 30 people is part of a worldwide movement of Jews and Gentiles recognizing Yeshua/ Jesus as the promised Messiah of Israel and all creation.
“Our hope is to serve our region in the likeness of Christ,” he said.
Kehilat Shabbat, Sylvester said, is a faith community stressing the first century context of the Messianic Gospel.
He moved with his family to Sequim after serving in Belfast, Maine, to follow a mission of Jesus’ word, he said.
“It became apparent our mission was here and not in Maine,” he said.
When Sylvester first began exploring his faith he found that in the 1960s there were many other messianic faith groups fitting a Jewish context into a faith in Jesus.
“Messianic services are distinctly Jewish in expression and include modern Christian and traditional Hebraic music, liturgy and dance,” he said. “Following God’s call to bring Torah to the Nations and the Messiah of Israel to the Jewish people we become as one new man. Celebrating Yeshua/ Jesus in the biblical feasts and festivals like Passover and Yom Kippur preserves the biblical context of our faith.”
Sylvester has been a pastor for 10 years and said the congregation is looking to work with other Christian/ Messianic groups in the area.
The Gathering at Blyn
Branded as the church “where tradition and substance meet,” the Rev. Howie Bennett moved to the area with his wife, Karen, from Florida last spring.
“I wanted to go to Costa Rica but felt God’s calling here,” Bennett joked. “But we knew with coming here, we’d start a church from scratch.”
They’ll begin services on Feb. 2 as a non-denominational Christian church with leanings toward what Bennett said are classic pentecostal and theologically conservative.
“I’m a meat and potatoes pastor,” he said. “Bottom line, our goal is to meet people and connect them with God.”
Bennett holds a B.S. in Biblical Studies from Valley Forge Christian College and an M.A. in Pastoral Counseling & Psychology from Ashland Theological Seminary in Akron, Ohio.
He’s served in several faith-based positions including starting a church in 1985 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and as a counselor in suicide prevention and with teens.
He’ll continue to offer a mobile pastoral counseling for free to those in need.
Bennett is ordained in the The Full Gospel Fellowship of Churches and Ministers International.
“Not every one is searching for God,” Bennett said. “When we meet someone who is hungry spiritually and their need is met, they will tell others. That is our simple philosophy of ministry.”