LAMBERTVILLE — Lambertville Community Church can be considered a new church because of a name change and a reorientation of its mission. The former Shelton Park Baptist Church took the community name and left the American Baptist Church to be nondenominational.
“There were two reasons,” the Rev. Gary Compton, pastor of the church, said. “There was a conflict between the name of Shelton Park Church of God — we were confused with them constantly. When Shelton Park sold their church, [people] thought we sold ours.”
The second reason was “research in the community,” Pastor Compton, 77, said. “We found we were more inclined to be an interdenominational church instead of a Baptist church. We weren’t growing as an American Baptist Church. The name change became a tool to have a new start. It’s nothing against the American Baptist Church. I still consider myself an American Baptist Church pastor. My last church that I pastored was Lake George Community, which was interdenominational.”
Instead of continuing its Baptist identity in a community that also has Missionary Baptist and Southern Baptist churches, Pastor Compton emphasized Lambertville Community Church's welcoming aspect of being interdenominational. “We don't preach against religions,” he said. “We have no desire to tear people down. We desire to welcome everybody in, free in that spirit of God’s freedom to make their own choices.”
Pastor Compton said, “We’ve had some interest in this new name change and growth, so we’re anticipating things are going to be a lot better.” The church membership had reduced to about 14 members, “so we’re going to try to rebuild from here. We own our building; we are holding our own, so to speak.”
The church plans to have a grand opening in 2013, “around Palm Sunday,” Pastor Compton said, but it is already open with services held Sundays at 10:45 a.m. at 7134 Summerfield Rd.