It is amazing that churches can all know that, in some way, their lineage goes all the way back the very beginning of the Church as recorded in Acts. We might not be ‘direct spiritual descendants’ of Peter, James, John or Paul, and even if we are, we cannot trace that lineage in its entirety, but God has chosen to build His Church, and we are all part of it. Our access to Scripture, our doctrine, and our church traditions are all based on God working through the actions of faithful believers over the last two millennia.
More recently, New Leaf’s direct lineage is from Oak Ridge Community Church in Clarksville, MD. Oak Ridge itself was spun off from Valley Brook Church in Columbia in 1993 and was part of an organization known as Great Commission Churches (GCC). GCC has now disbanded as an organization, but its roots were as a church-planting movement that started with the now-infamous ‘bus ride’ that took place in 1970. Faithful men and women carried the Gospel to new towns and cities, planting churches that grew and, in turn, planted more churches. It is to the leaders of these churches, up to and including Oak Ridge, that New Leaf owes its existence as a church fellowship.
Our first public gatherings were outdoor Easter services in 2021 when the COVID pandemic had left many people avoiding large, indoor gatherings. Throughout the summer of 2021, we began to meet monthly outdoors, getting rained on a couple of times so that we got almost as wet as those who were being baptized. In the fall, we discovered the banquet hall at the South Carroll Swim Club and began meeting there, still on a monthly basis. At New Year (2022), things stepped up to twice per month and at Easter they became weekly.
We are a small fellowship, still in its infancy, but it is our desire to continue the legacy of Oak Ridge and the Church-at-large by faithfully carrying the Gospel alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ, to our community and beyond. We hope to launch our first overseas mission trip to support the work of a church in Honduras in 2023.