Manchester Christian Church in Bedford
It began in a barn on North Amherst Street in Bedford in 1995. Lee Galucki and his wife Shirley had been canvassing the community for a year, sending out colored post cards and serving as pulpit supply in Amherst: A new church in Bedford! Except for the historic denominational churches, this was a first: a non-denominational church plant led by a young, energetic pastor whose wife is a medical doctor in town. Bedford Community Church outgrew the barn, moved to the Wayfarer Inn (where Whole Foods is now located), other locations, and finally its own building across from Memorial School. When Lee Galucki, the founding pastor, resigned, the Church Board brought in Dr. David Midwood, President of Vision New England as interim pastor, and began negotiations with Manchester Christian Church on Wellington Road in Manchester, to become a second campus in 2012.
Pastor Frank Reynolds had radically transformed the Manchester Christian Church in his 30 years there, following the guidelines of Rick Warren, a Southern Baptist pastor in California who wrote The Purpose Driven Church. In 2010 Pastor Frank Reynolds retired to do missions work in Africa, and Bo Chancey became the next pastor. Under the direction of Senior Pastor Bo Chancey, a Bedford resident, Manchester Christian Church is now multi-site with campuses in Concord, Manchester, Bedford, and On-Line. The annual event of bringing them all together is held at the Arena in Manchester on Easter Sunday.
The affiliation of Christian churches, began in Kentucky in the late 1700s as part of the Restoration Movement headed by Barton Stone and Alexander Campbell. Campbell was a Presbyterian from Ireland, and was tired of the bickering over details. Stone and Campbell promoted a back to basics of the Bible. Distinctives of their churches include weekly communion, the importance of baptism by immersion, and the leadership of the laity. Manchester Christian Church has hundreds of volunteers and 24 staff members, including a Pastor for the Bedford campus. Women are accepted as paid staff and volunteers, but prohibited from serving in some leadership positions. Restoration House on the Wellington campus is a training program for those serving Christian churches.
MCC, as it is affectionately called, is an energetic church whose time is now. For those of us who grew up in this area, could we have imagined a mega-church of Bible-believing, on-fire-for-Jesus Christians, many of whom are young people, in our little town of Bedford?! To view the superbly talented musicians, all of them volunteers except the music director, and a message by the senior pastor, Bo Chancey, go to Manchesterchristian.churchonline.org/
Submitted by Rev. Dr. Lori Wiley, retired pastor