Monday, April 25, 2005


I missed one church in my last post so I'm going to cover it quickly before I move on to the college scene.

Toledo Home Fellowship was founded in the early 80's, I believe, by Dean Finnegan in-you guessed it- Toledo, OH. I'm not sure about the exact origins of the church, but I know that they were a group of Christians that met in a home. At some point they bought a large house in Toledo and decided to live communally. I came across their existence in 1984 through an ad in Cornerstone Magazine for their own homespun periodical, True Vine Press. I began corresponding with one of the members, Mark Schwartz, and at some point he invited me to spend the night at their house, known as "Morningstar Manor."

My parents were not in favor of this at all and refused to let me go. In retrospect I can understand somewhat. They had no idea what I might be getting into. At the time I didn't get it. My belief was that they were against this group of Christians because they weren't Catholic and didn't do church in the "normal" way. Eventually they relented, when they realized that I wasn't coming back to the Catholic Church anytime soon.

I was never a part of their fellowship, so I obviously saw only one side of what went on there. I can tell you that I got to know and love the pastor there, Steve Shipley. His tapes and the fellowship's publication became a source of spiritual food for me. Mark Schwartz and his wife Cheri became friends of mine. The idea that someone who loved Jesus Christ and had it in their heart to do something that would honor God and help people had a lot of attraction for me.

I stayed in contact with THF until I graduated from college in 1990. At that point the Schwartzes moved and I lost contact with them, Steve and the rest of THF. But THF was one more step in a lifelong exploration of how people answered "the God question." When Jesus enters your life, when you become conscious of the fact that this historical entity named Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross not just to be the fall guy in a political dispute between King Herod's people and those of Pontius Pilate but to accomplish something much more personal, the salvation of your soul, what is your response?

For the answer to that question, keep reading :)


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