It’s hot and sticky outside, but cool and clear in the sanctuary of Molding Disciples Ministries as Pastor Elaine Saunders and her husband, Tracy Saunders, talked last Friday about the path they’ve followed to the new home of their congregation: the historic Old Union Church building on Brookhaven Road in Rose Valley.
“We were waiting for the Lord to open the right door,” Pastor Saunders said. After a few years in Eddystone, her church was ready to find a home that allowed for growth. “You have to look at the geographic location, based on your current congregation, and also looking at the community in which you hope to evangelize and minister.”
Pastor Saunders is expecting visitors. This Sunday and next are “Friends and Family Sundays,” with church members reaching out to welcome neighbors from Rose Valley, Wallingford, Media, Swarthmore and other nearby communities, as well as friends and family from further afield. Worship services begin at 11:15 a.m., following Sunday school (for adults and children) at 10:15 a.m.
Old Union stood vacant for several years after the Methodist congregation there disbanded. MDM purchased the building in April 2016 and moved in last June. (The church building continues as the home of Old Union Nursery School, a private preschool which has been there for more than 20 years.) The new church is not affiliated with a denomination. “We are a Christ-centered, Bible-believing church, from Genesis to Revelation,” Pastor Saunders said. “We believe that our God is in Heaven; we believe in his son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit.
Pastor Saunders studied for the ministry at Eastern College, Palmer Seminary and the School of the Warrior, run by Pastor Harry Jones in Media. She opened a school of ministry in 2005 in Philadelphia. MDM church administrator Tracy Saunders says of his wife, “She is gifted in the teaching of the word of God.”
Then came the call to establish a church. Molding Disciples has a vigorous set of ministries for its congregation on the wider world. In addition to Sunday school and worship, Pastor Saunders and other church leaders conduct Bible study for adults and children on Wednesday evenings, prayer services, and men’s and women’s fellowship groups, which address practical matters of parenting, marriage and family as well as faith.
“We have to be relevant,” Pastor Saunders says. “It has to be something you can take and apply to your day to day life. It’s our prayer that we will reach a wider community through these ministries.”
Another outreach program takes place on Saturday, October 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Benevolent Ministry, a health fair overseen by two nurses in the congregation, involves Crozer-Chester Medical Center and several agencies, who will offer free health screenings at the church, including eye and hearing exams, cholesterol and other blood tests, and referrals to social services.
MDM’s congregation includes members from all over Delaware County, Philadelphia, Delaware and New Jersey. The church is ready for more, Pastor Saunders said. “I want the church to grow not only in membership, but also in diversity. Our doors are open. We want people to come in with a sincere desire to come to know the Lord, or even just to know that there is something in their life that’s missing. Just come, and I believe that the Lord will do the rest.”
More information on Molding Disciples Ministries is at mdi05.com.
The church is located at 211 W. Brookhaven Road in Rose Valley.