The church in Bennington, Vermont, is tucked away in the far southwestern corner of the conference, a few minutes away, literally, from extreme western Massachusetts and a few minutes away from upstate New York. The Bennington community is about as quiet and rural as you can get—and it is also about as far as you can get from the conference office and still be in the Northern New England Conference. And yet, in this quiet corner of God’s garden there is an extraordinary amount of planting and harvesting going on.
As small churches go, you could say Bennington is focused and active. Or you could say they are ambitious and dedicated. Both are true. Before 2020 even started, Bennington’s pastor, Mark Atwood, and the church leaders decided to make a particular push for evangelism during the year. They decided to practice cyclical evangelism, and mount a series of seminars and projects. In the first half of the year, they mailed out thousands of Bible-study cards, started dozens of Bible studies, participated in It Is Written’s “Hope Awakens” series, and trained members to be Bible workers. This little church has generated interest and Bible-study inquiries from a significant number of community members.
The effort began before COVID-19 came along, but the pestilence only seems to have heightened interest in the offerings of the church. With all the planting, and with the early harvest waiting, the members of Bennington eagerly awaited the day when the church could gather together again, as there were a solid dozen baptisms, professions of faith, and transfers that were backlogged!
The church plans to continue its high level of activity with prophecy seminars and health programs for the community through the end of the year and beyond. Pastor Atwood summed up the attitude when he said, “Now is the time to be working diligently in the Lord’s garden, and praise God, that is what the Bennington people are doing. But even though we labor, it is the Lord who produces the harvest!”