Like any great story, the story of All Saints Church begins with the convergence of many stories: people who had been captivated by the love of God seen in the gospel of Jesus Christ and who had been touched and transformed through experiences in vibrant liturgical churches; the start of a new Anglican church in Raleigh; and, most of all, the heart of God for the Chapel Hill–Durham area. Church of the Apostles was planted in 2001 in Raleigh, and several families from this area began attending. The dream of an Anglican church in the western part of the Triangle was never far from their minds—in fact, they had been praying about it privately, and together, for years. Their hope was that one day God would open the door for an orthodox, evangelical, liturgical church in Chapel Hill and Durham.
In 2003 these families approached the leadership of Church of the Apostles with their vision. They were encouraged to continue exploring the possibilities through earnest prayer and discussion, and Apostles made the commitment to help see this dream come to fruition.
In 2004, a fund was established to gather money for a new church. In summer 2004, three “come and see” services were held at Trinity School, led by Terrell Glenn, rector of Apostles. Later that fall, a group of 15–20 people began to meet regularly for prayer and worship in the home of Wesley and Jan Burks, earnestly seeking God’s will for a new church.
In early 2005, Terrell Glenn encouraged the group to take things to the next level, stepping out in faith and prayer to plant a new Anglican church to serve Chapel Hill and Durham. In short order, this fledgling group began to organize, establishing a vision for their mission and identifying core values. They moved their meeting place to Jim and Karen Lamont’s home and began to add pioneering people to the launch team. They selected a leadership team—Wesley Burks, Bill Roper, Nathan Thielman, and Jim Lamont—and chose the name All Saints Church.
In June 2005, Steve Breedlove was called to be the founding rector, and Steve and Sally joined 16 committed launch team members. By August, All Saints began meeting for weekly evening Holy Communion services at Advent Lutheran Church, and the numbers grew slowly but steadily. Steve taught from 1 Peter: it was an exciting time of uniting around a common vision and moving forward in faith. By Christmas, services were moved to Farrington Road Baptist Church. God was drawing and calling people to come and join this missional community. But we knew that evening services did not serve families well, and so we began making plans...
Our very first Sunday morning services were held on Palm Sunday and Easter 2006 at the Sheraton Hotel in Chapel Hill. The following Sunday, April 23, we officially moved into our next location, Creekside Elementary School. The work of weekly set-up was worth it: a spacious gathering place for worship, children’s classrooms, and morning services! God blessed All Saints, and we began to grow, spiritually and numerically.
Soon there were 50 launch-team members, and September 17, 2006, became our official birthday as a church (no longer a “developing mission”). Over the next several months more and more people joined and committed themselves to pray for and participate in the ministry and mission of All Saints Church. Thanks to God and his people, our initial programs took shape and form—children’s ministries, youth ministries, worship, and prayer ministries. Dinners of Nine, nascent small groups, were formed. Support work continued apace. “We learned how to set up and break down worship space, and we mastered the art of how to best stack stuff in PODS,” said one tired-but-contented member.
God blessed us at Creekside with growth in every aspect of our mission, and we are deeply thankful for the school, its hospitality and our relationship with staff and students. However, we also knew that there were limits to our growth in a “set-up-and-break-down” mode, and we were praying throughout this time for a semi-permanent rental location. A tragedy kicked us into full gear: in May 2009, our PODS were broken into and we lost thousands of dollars of equipment. The location we were in the thick of considering, the first viable spot we had found in over three years of searching, suddenly looked great!
That month, we signed a three-year lease for a meeting space at 4310 Garrett Road in Durham. A thorough remodeling job and four months later, we moved—on October 3, 2009—to our present location. On August 22, 2010 we expanded to two Sunday morning services, 8:30 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.. We are grateful for a location where we no longer have to set up, where there is 24/7 opportunity, and where we are located amongst neighbors whom we can get to know, learn from, and serve.
The story of All Saints Church is, above all, the story of God’s faithfulness, kindness, and heart for our community. We have been abundantly provided for, protected, and loved by God. He has preserved our unity, clarified and strengthened our mission, and expanded our ministries. He has brought us a growing number of committed members whose gifts and dreams stretch us. He has taught us and changed us, answered our prayers, and filled our hearts with joy. He has met with us week after week after week, in Word, Sacrament, and Spirit.
All this is to say is that we have much to be thankful for. It's an exciting journey to be on and you are invited to join us. To God be the glory!