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With the suicides came shame
because so many people would
think you were going to hell. . .
Mimi Moore, church member
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  CHURCH  
  St. Thomas Church (Episcopal-Lutheran)  
  LOCATION (click link for demographic summary)  
  Campbellsville, KY 42718  
  CONGREGATION SIZE  
  51-100  
  REGIONAL BODY (click link for website)  
  Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky
Indiana-Kentucky Synod ELCA
 
  FEATURED RESOURCE (click link to learn more)  
  FirstView  
  FULL STORY (click link to read more)  
  It's a Wonderful Life  
  MINISTRY SUMMARY
 
New Church Plant in distressed rural town, storefront location
 
Demographics drive
missional planning
 
Joint Episcopal-Lutheran (ELCA) effort
 
Alternative to predominant religious tradition
 
Liturgical worship style
 
Ecumenical community-based vision
 
Mission to help the hurting and doubting—ministry of "listening"
 
Relational approach to evangelism
 
     
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l It's a Wonderful Life
Click here to read the Full Story
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A new church plant, concerned about the escalating suicide rate in their small community dares to go where no ministry has gone before. What followed was the beginning of a quiet miracle. . .
When a famous company that manufactures men's and boy's underwear—a seemingly necessary commodity in life—closes its plant, laying off its entire work force, life couldn't get any more hopeless. Or could it? For the small town of Campbellsville, Kentucky, pop. 11,000, the final nail in the coffin was when their second biggest employer, Batesville Casket Company, pulled up stakes and closed its plant, draining what little was left of the town's economic lifeblood. Proving that even coffin makers don't always have a final resting place.

Although the town ultimately survived, for some of the dislocated, the turnaround was a day late and a dollar short. Many of them lost their houses and some, sadly, took their own lives. In the aftermath of April 15, 1998, it would be two churches—St. Thomas, a new church plant, and the other, Bethel First Presbyterian—that would join together and

go in where angels maybe not have feared to go, but had little experience in treading.

"It was a human story that validated what the demographic and missional planning information told us we should do," lay vicar

Karl Lusk would say afterwards. And it was a many-layered tale to
tell. A tale about companies and churches using statistics for very
different purposes, yet with some surprisingly common, and even redemptive, results. Results that would end up saving the very soul
of a town. . . -Jenni Keast
There's more. . . read the full story!
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