By Pablo Gonzales | Assistant News Editor
This past weekend, Church Under the Bridge celebrated 25 years of service and commitment to the people of Waco.
The 25th anniversary celebration began early Sunday morning with a 1.2 mile walk called “Walk for the Homeless,” an annual event held to collect toiletries and hygiene items for distribution at the church.
Dr. Delvin Atchison, great commission director for the Baptist General Convention of Texas gave a sermon about living through life’s storms. The service was held at 11 a.m.
In his sermon, Atchison spoke about how God shows up in mysterious ways and how special Church Under the Bridge is. He encouraged the congregation to not let life’s storms discourage them.
“I believe that this church is a mirror of the Kingdom of Heaven,” Atchison said. “God shows up in unlikely places and sometimes it’s under a bridge in Waco, Texas.
With the church being so close to the Baylor campus, Baylor students often come to Church Under the Bridge and get a first look at the reality of many people that live in Waco.
According to Fort Worth senior Jared DeVries, many Baylor students have not worshipped at a church like this before, but it opens their minds to a new world outside of the Baylor Bubble.
“This church gives Baylor students the opportunity to experience a world that is outside of their own day-to-day life,” DeVries said. “It shows that there is a bigger world with a lot of suffering and a lot of heartache and this church gives faces to those stories that they’re not familiar with.”
In 1992, Church Under the Bridge started with Jimmy and Janet Dorrell, two Baylor alumni who held a Bible study with a Baylor student at the Taco Cabana across the street from the I-35 Bridge. The group met weekly and began to befriend the homeless people who slept under the bridge.
Today, Church Under the Bridge has grown bigger and has become a church for all people, including those who may have never been to church before or may not feel as comfortable at other local churches.
Since its founding, the church has grown to a play a special role in the cultural landscape of Waco, according to Jimmy Dorrell, pastor of Church Under the Bridge.
“There is something powerful about worshipping under a bridge,” Dorell said. “I think that there is this sense that we are challenging the larger church without condemning them that it is all of our call to love people across cultural and social lines. We have a special location in Waco to reach the city we serve.”
On Sundays, Church Under the Bridge meets under the I-35 bridge at 5th St. to worship . After service, congregants are invited to stay for a meal and fellowship.