In 1989, the Regional Board of the Christian Church called George Reese as a Pastor/Developer. George & his wife Cory along with their 3 kids moved to a home in West Chester. A provisional name was chosen as “Tylersville Road Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).” In September of 1989, six families began meeting informally on Sunday evenings in a rented office space. And on March 4, 1990, 289 persons gathered at the Western Row Elementary School in Mason for the first formal worship. This was our beginning!
By October of 1990, the congregation had grown to 76 members. By September of 1991, attendance had grown to 215 individuals and the church began to meet at Hopewell Junior School in West Chester to accommodate the growth. Less than two years later in March of 1993 the church needed even more space and moved to meet at the 42 Building at 9624 Cincinnati Columbus Road.
In January of 1994, the process began to build our own church facility. After three years of preparing and planning we broke ground for our Phase 1building on April 29, 1997. Almost exactly one year later on Easter Sunday April 12, 1998 we held our first worship service in our current facility.
Serving Our Community
As our church continued to grow, our responsibility to serve our community moved to the forefront of our mission. We became involved in Habitat for Humanity in 1998. In 1999 we began hosting a chapter of MOMS of Mason as an educational support group for new parent and we participated in Mason Heritage Days for the first time in order to meet our local neighbors. Our first congregational website went live that year as well to reach neighbors near and far.
In January 2000, we could sense that our community was changing and committed to be responsive to those changes. We began a Faithful Planning program that helped us understand our community and ourselves. We began serving meals to the homeless in Over the Rhine and started a prison ministry.
In April 2002 we broke ground for our Mission Garden, a community garden whose fresh vegetables fed the hungry in our neighborhood and provided a place for fellowship and friendship as church members and neighbors alike worked among the rows of crops. Over the years these crops helped feed Reach Out Lakota and two soup kitchens. That year we also began hosting ARK (Adults Relating to Kids) which is a support group for parents and we also hosted Financial Peace University.
Expanding our Reach
Our youth served our wider community in 2002 by attending a mission trip to DC to help with home repairs, painting, and a VBS program. Our youth returned to DC three years later to serve yet again.
As Hurricane Katrina devastated parts of our country in 2005, we were ready to help. We partnered with Matthew 25 Ministries to provide supplies to the residents of the Gulf. That year we also took an adult mission trip to DC and our youth helped an Appalachian church in David, KY to help with VBS and home repairs to their community. Our youth developed a heart for the Appalachian communities and two years later took a trip to Alderson, WV to help repair homes in their community as well.
Fond Farewells & Warm Wishes
In September 2007 our Founding Pastor, Rev. George Reese retired, as did his wife Cory who had served as our Music Director for 17 years. We welcomed Rev. Larry Pigg as our Interim Minister.
Within the search process calling our next Senior Pastor we were busy praying, discerning whom God was calling to lead us in our next phase of congregational life. Despite this inward focus, our outward ministries continued to expand. In May 2008 an adult mission trip to New Orleans helped repair damage from Hurricane Katrina. In June a youth mission trip to Chicago helped inner-city residents with a soup kitchen, daycare program, landscaping, and serving in a food warehouse.
Locally that summer we welcomed a Summer Review Class to help local first-graders retain their knowledge heading into second grade and in the fall of 2008we began serving with the Whiz Kids program, a tutoring service for elementary school children at Hopewell. As well as partnered with another soup kitchen to serve the homeless at Walnut Hills.
Our youth continued to serve in 2009 with a mission trip to Cleveland, OH. There they helped repair facilities for individuals struggling with mental illness, abuse, or neglect. They also went to Hiram, OH to build a greenhouse and compost bins for a farm that provides meaningful work with those with Autism.
In August of 2009 we said farewell to Rev. Larry Pigg and welcomed our new Senior Pastor, Rev. Troy Sybrant.
Deepening Our Faith
In February of 2010, we launched adult education small groups. We explored spiritual practices and different ways of prayer and the following February our Elders led small groups focusing on sharing our faith with others.
Our love for our community and desire to serve was still a top priority. In June of 2011 our youth returned to DC and we joined four other local churches in a summer lunch program to feed our community’s children. In April of that year our adults went to Tuscaloosa, AL to help repair tornado-damaged homes and then in October we went to Joplin, MO for the same mission.
Sharing Our Blessings Near and Far
In January 2013, we became part of the Faith Alliance a collaboration of congregations serving the needy in West Chester and Liberty Township. With Faith Alliance, we have collected food to feed the hungry, participated in community service projects, fed our neighbors, provided school supplies for local students, and helped make Christmas gifts possible for neighborhood children.
That year we also offered our first pet blessing and adoption event to our community. We also had mission trips to Louisiana, Alabama, and Missouri to help those communities continue to recover from natural disasters.
In 2014, we launched a knitting group to make homemade cold weather items for the homeless in our area. We welcomed Rev. Olivia Byran Updegrove as a family pastor/youth coordinator that summer. In the fall of 2014 we also reached our local community that year with free dance classes and we offered hospitality to our neighbors with a collection of global nativity sets, refreshments, and music in December. That year our sanctuary was rejuvenated with an interactive mural that drew upon biblical stories involving water and ships, which transformed the front of our worship space relating it to our own journey.
Our heart for missions continued in 2015 with a church building trip to Clarksdale, Mississippi. We also began collecting plastic bags and using them to create “plarn” to create mats for the homeless. Our youth went on mission trips that summer to both Columbus and Indianapolis and in September we held our first community bonfire with music, devotionals, and s’mores.
Continuing our Community Calling
In 2016, we celebrated all we had experienced under our provisional name of “Tylersville Road Christian Church” and voted to become “Compass Christian Church”. We are a Disciples of Christ community, finding our way together to truth and life. In May we released a redesigned website and in June we built a ramp for a neighbor with MS. We also filled knapsacks of love for the homeless, hosted a Burgers & Blues cookout for our community. That summer we held Open Table Conversations learning about our community and how we might join in God’s work already underway. In December we welcomed Ten Thousand Villages to join our Live Nativity and collected gifts for Reach Out Lakota to insure local children had gifts to open Christmas morning.
February of 2017, our adults and youth went to NY and DC and learned from the UN and met officials to learn how to make a difference nationally and internationally. We also learned a lot about our Islamic neighbors and received wonderful hospitality from the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati. We followed this event with a Christianity and Islam study in our congregation as well as Know Your Neighbor groups to form deeper relationships with one another and broader relationships with our community. That year our members also supported Habitat for Humanity ReStore Center with their time and we began a new women’s Bible study.
In 2018 and 2019 we focused on learning how to cross cultural and social barriers. We learned from the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati about how past conversations can point us forward. We also learned about racism in today’s world and hosted an organizational meeting of the Ohio Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. We also offered a community class on “The Bible and Homosexuality” and discovered the historical forces that shaped the church and new imagination needed for the future. As we looked forward to 2020, we made a series of recommendations to become more open hearted, open minded, and open tabled church.
The West Chester Book Club and West Chester Symphony Orchestra also called our church building home in 2019. We are blessed by the arts and the longstanding relationship we enjoy with the Cincinnati Civic Orchestra that performs here regularly.
Challenges, More Fond Farewells & Warm Welcomes
In March of 2020, under the recommendations of the CDC, Compass Christian Church temporarily closed its doors due to COVID restrictions. We stepped up to make video recordings each week for YouTube/Facebook broadcast of our worship service and still provided communion for each family at home. We transitioned to a more inclusive Zoom service so everyone could join together, an effort that still continues today.
After more than a year of virtual fellowship, we were finally able to reopen our doors in April of 2021. At the same time Rev. Troy Sybrant departed for his calling to a church in Oregon and we welcomed Rev. Beckie Linn Gregory as our Interim Minister.
It was in 2021 that after discussion groups, book studies, and intentional prayer, Compass Christian Church became an Open and Affirming congregation. This was not a change from who we were, but a confirmation and declaration that we are a welcoming church to ALL and ALL have a place at the Lord’s table and in church leadership.
Listening Once Again
Compass Christian Church began in response to a call: to be a Disciples of Christ within this community. From our history we know that God is active among and beyond us, and has good plans in store for us. Our founding mission continues to form our future, one you are invited to help create. There is history yet to be written and you are invited to be a part of it. You will find a community were everyone is welcome, accepted, and loved and who will walk with you the journey of faith before us.
Copyright © 2022 Compass Christian Church (an open and affirming Christian community)