UNION CITY, Ind. — Perhaps the strongest bond between community and church are born from the awareness that transformation is possible through faith and friendship.
One startup church in Union City, Indiana, puts its faith “on the line” in a bold, new venture that has heads turning and people talking about what amazing things God can do when like-minded people work together.
CrossRoads Church of Union City, located at 229 West Pearl Street, recently celebrated its first “official” Sunday on September 27, 2020; yet, its presence within the Union City community has been felt for many months leading up to this day. CrossRoads Church founders, Pastor John Hannan and his wife, Beth, are both Union City natives, with family also living in Darke County, Ohio.
Having been first called into the ministry from the Wesleyan Church of Greenville, Pastor Hannan first served as Pastor to Cornerstone Chapel (West Carrollton, Ohio) and Senior Pastor at Monticello Wesleyan Church (Charlottesville, Virginia); however, when their fathers’ ailing health called them back home to Union City, the Hannans had a sense that God was “on the move.”
Although serving for a time within the UMC, the Hannans felt strongly that God was calling them to serve in full-time ministry within the Wesleyan Church. In June 2019, they sought the counsel of Mark Gorveatte, District Superintendent of the Cross Roads District of the Wesleyan Church, who encouraged Pastor Hannan to stay in Union City, and embark upon the venture of “planting” a new Wesleyan church within the community.
“We started out meeting at someone’s house…our house, Mary Greer’s house, Sheila and Rod Boone’s house, to where eventually we outgrew our homes. We had even tried meeting in D’s restaurant on Sunday evenings when they were closed.” explained Beth. “During this time, we had T-shirts made for our float in the Union City Stateline Heritage Days Parade where we passed out bottles of water… We also put on a picnic at Harter Park that August and had fun and games with the kiddos… Throughout this whole process, the Crossroads District had stated that ‘whatever money you collect for projects and fundraisers, we will match dollar for dollar.’ Wow! Were we ever so excited!”
Taking up this “church planting” mantel, the Hannans have spent over a year preparing the groundwork for CrossRoads Church to open its doors. Over the past year, one very special friendship has emerged between CrossRoads Church and another downtown ministry, Casa de Oracion. “John met Ray Meijia (who) is part of a local Hispanic church here within Union City called Casa De Oracion. The building that they meet in used to be the old Salvation Army church which closed. Pastor John’s grandmother used to tell the story of walking her children to the Salvation Army Church. This is the same church that his mother and her siblings came to know the Lord.” said Beth.
Other members of the church talk about the warm and welcoming atmosphere of the church and the Hannans. “I met with John and Beth out in the halls of Hoosier Place when they were there for one of their activities…We talked and they said that they love everyone no matter how they look.” said parishioner Jill Cassano. “ I have tattoos and I wear jeans and a T-shirt most of the time, but they accept me for who I am, and that is why I love this church and the people.”
Another parishioner, Scarlett Gross, remarked, “I was going to another church that had closed its doors, and saw John one day. I was talking to him and he invited me to come (to church). I have been coming ever since.”
Another ministry friend, Darnell Hicks, remarked, “I came into the church one day yelling, ‘Do you have a Bible I can have?’ Pastor John said ‘Sure man, come on in.’ I told the group my story of my wife dying and being homeless, and how I had a job, but due to my health I am laid off. The only thing I could think of was to read the Bible. After our conversation and prayer, I decided to come and help the group out with the renovations. I call Pastor John ‘my real dog,’ meaning my best friend!”
Currently, at the new location, CrossRoads offers a Sunday morning service at 11 a.m., including a staffed nursery and children’s church, and Casa de Oracion offers a Saturday evening service at 7 p.m. In addition, CrossRoads offers a “Best Years Fellowship” midweek service and lunch, beginning Wednesdays at 11 a.m., which provides an opportunity for other area churches within the community to gather in friendship and support. Also, CrossRoads offers an online Bible study Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m. centered around worship, study, and praying over the needs of the community and other local churches.
In addition to services, CrossRoads also partners with the Darke County Mississinawa Valley Youth for Christ, and the Darke County Back Pack Food Program, picking up, transferring and delivering 200 bags of food per week with the help of Mississinawa Valley School students and staff. Future ministry plans in the works include an addiction recovery program, a senior community day, and a women’s exercise program.
“Our desire (is) to complete the work that God has called us to do here in Union City. So we envision ourselves being able to collaborate and support other local churches and ministries in what they may do,” said Pastor Hannan. “We have functioned from our first meeting with the mindset that CrossRoads Church must be a multiplying church. This means that whatever we do as a local church must be alive and moving, where lives are being given and offered the opportunity to be changed and continually transformed.”
For more information about CrossRoads Church, contact Pastor John and Beth Hannan at email@example.com or call the church at 937-467-9714, or online at crossroadsunioncity.com
Carol Marsh covers community interest stories and handles obituaries for Darke County Media. She can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 937-569-4314.