By June Mathews
The congregation of Christ the King Anglican Church has a special reason to be thankful this holiday season: It now has its own place of worship.
After meeting in borrowed space for the first 11 years of its existence, the approximately 150-member church will soon move into the building formerly occupied by Berney Points Baptist Church at 2250 Blue Ridge Blvd., Hoover. The first service at the new location is scheduled for Nov. 25, Thanksgiving weekend.
Founded by the Rev. Lyle Dorsett and wife Mary in November 2007, Christ the King held its first service in Hodges Chapel on the campus of Samford University and has been meeting there ever since.
“It is the Christian hospitality of Dr. Timothy George, the dean of Beeson Divinity School, that has allowed us to meet in that wonderful space all these years,” said the Rev. Michael Novotny, rector of the growing church.
The move came about … through God’s providence and the sacrificial heart of Berney Points Baptist Church.”
After learning the Berney Points congregation had vacated the property last April, Novotny drove to the building, sat in the parking lot, and prayed. He initially was unable to reach anyone at the Berney Points facility, but ultimately, he established contact with the pastor, the Rev. Anton Fourie, through the Birmingham Baptist Association. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.
“From day one, we both could see the fruitfulness of this connection,” Novotny said. “They needed a buyer and wanted to sell to a fellow orthodox Christian church, and we needed a permanent home. Since most of our congregation lives in the Hoover area, it was ideal for us.”
In some ways, the move into what used to be a Southern Baptist church will be a journey back in time for Novotny and his wife, Jennifer. They were both raised in Southern Baptist churches.
“We began attending Christ the King in 2010 after moving to Birmingham for me to complete my theological education at Beeson Divinity School,” he said. “It was after reading the church fathers and Reformers that we transitioned into the Anglican Church. We had been given a wonderful foundation of the love and knowledge of God’s Word in the Baptist church, but we both began searching for a more historic expression of the Christian faith that married the positives of the Reformation with the beauty of ancient Christian worship.”
During the eight years the Novotnys have been at Christ the King, they’ve added 4-year-old Levi, 2-year-old Priscilla, and 2-month-old Ruth to the church’s youngest ranks. The family lives in Vestavia, “right up the road” from dad’s new workplace.
More in Common Than Not
Anglicans, Novotny said, are first and foremost biblical Christians who see the Bible as God’s written word containing all things necessary for salvation through Jesus Christ.
“In that way, we are very similar to the Baptist church, as well as other Protestant denominations,” he said. “We agree on the essentials of the faith found in Scripture; where we differ is mostly found in our worship services. It’s been said we ‘preach like Baptists’ and ‘dress like Catholics.’”
The music in a typical Anglican service is a mix of traditional and contemporary, Novotny explained, and the focus is not about creating a worship experience but about pulling congregants into worshipping God.
“This is what attracted me to the Anglican Church,” he said. “We are here to participate in the worship of the historic church, listen to Christ speak to us through the Bible and sermon, and be nourished in weekly Holy Communion.”
As the church moves into its new quarters, an extra dose of thankfulness will likely play a role in Christ the King’s services, too.
“As a church family, we are thankful for this new church home because we will be able to have mid-week services, vacation Bible school, weddings and funerals in our own space, and overall, there will be more occasions for discipleship,” said Novotny. “But even more, we now have a community around us to minister to.”
In the church’s post-move future, Novotny sees plenty of opportunities to spread the gospel and to offer a liturgical, sacramental, and biblically based community of faith. As a father of three, he also holds specific hopes for the next generation.
“We are a church with many young families,” he said. “So, we hope to be a church where our children are raised up in the faith, having a relationship with Christ and a love for his church.”
For more information on Christ the King Anglican Church, visit ctkbirmingham.org.