On December 3, 2017, two Detroit churches, formerly known as Berea and Greenfield Peace, merged and formed Faith Lutheran Church, served by pastor Brian Dupre. (You can read the story of this merger here.)
In the meantime, another church—St. Paul, Farmington Hills—was seeking a way forward. They were being served by an Intentional Interim Pastor, Rev. Gary Siefert, and worked through a three-day intensive strategic planning process with their CMMF, Rev. Dr. Rob Kasper. “From that, they realized that they needed to focus not on survival, but on getting into their community, yet they were hampered by nagging debt and an inward focus. With their school partnership (Concordia Lutheran School in association with Hosanna/Tabor) and facility expenses, they were seeking a way forward to be able to call a pastor. They needed a sustainable model,” explains Kasper.
At the same time, Faith, Detroit was looking for a permanent location to call home as a congregation. Pastors Siefert and Dupre met and began to have conversations about their respective congregations’ challenges. Over several months, various groups of lay leaders met to discuss the possibility of working together. The question has always been, “How can we best expand God’s Kingdom impact in our community through His church?” After much discussion and prayer, they decided to join forces and become a more effective instrument in God’s hand with a sustainable model for ministry.
A New Church Forms
Rev. Brian Dupre was installed on March 10, 2019 as the pastor of the newly formed Shadow of the Cross Lutheran Church, a merger of Faith and St. Paul congregations. He marvels at God’s working through seemingly unrelated events to build His kingdom. Dupre has had ties with all three congregations some way or another throughout his life: He had family members who worked at the school at Berea Lutheran Church in the 1950’s and 60’s and who were members there. Dupre himself grew up at Greenfield Peace Lutheran Church, but in the course of raising his own family, he attended St. Paul, Farmington Hills with his wife and kids.
Dupre says, “Little did I know that God would use a person who never aspired to be a pastor, who left Michigan to get away from the cold weather, and who had no experience bringing differing cultures together, to return to this state to do just that, merging all three of these churches. And now this congregation finds itself on the edge of something historic, created by the will of God. All glory, laud and honor to you, Lord of the Church. There is no one more amazed at what You have done than I.”