International Community Church

Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 12 July 2017.

Phone: 617-782-8120
[flickr_set id="72157621937327862"] History The International Community Church (ICC) was created in 1998 by a legal consolidation of the Brighton Avenue Baptist Church and the New Life Church. Founded in 1853, the Brighton Avenue Baptist Church was a mainline American Baptist Church that reached its peak membership in the 1940s and 1950s and then gradually began to decline. In the late 1990s, the church invited Burmese and Haitian churches to share part of the building to help pay the bills. Despite these efforts, Brighton Avenue Baptist Church struggled with financial problems and a dwindling congregation. By the 2000s there were under a dozen members. Meanwhile, in the early 1970s, a group affiliated with the Conservative Baptists and led by Rev. Ralph Kee saw the decline of mainline churches as a call to action: they began “church plants” across the city. These plants formed what members of Kee’s circle call the “Quiet Revival,” a period where small, mostly ethnic churches became the fastest growing sector of Christianity in Boston. In 1990, members of this group, including Lorraine Cleaves Anderson who is now Senior Pastor at ICC, planted a small church in the Allston-Brighton area called New Life Church. They immediately invited other worship communities to share their space. ICC members now laugh about the tight squeeze. They leased a small storefront, set up a supposedly sound-proof curtain and attempted to hold two simultaneous services. Soon they had outgrown the space and found that the Brighton Avenue Baptist Church, right down the street, needed help. New Life Church consolidated with the remaining 9 active members, moved into the Gordon St. building and renamed their church the International Community Church. Multi-Ethnic Sharing The ICC shares space with 6 other autonomous churches. Although ICC sees itself as the “host,” all the churches work together to care for the space, contribute funds and share rooms and resources. One of the hardest parts of the Brighton Avenue/New Life consolidation was that some of the remaining members of the Brighton Avenue Baptist Church had reservations about this arrangement. Sharing space was one thing but declaring the church building common space was, understandably, overwhelming for several older members, some of whom decided to leave. Currently, all 7 churches operate independently and sign yearly covenants with the ICC, which lay out the rules for sharing expenses and using rooms. The ICC carries the bulk of the expenses and the other churches contribute as they can. There are only two major rules that all pastors are asked to impress upon their congregations: KWAAAT (kids with adults at all times) and no violence. With no dedicated administrator, much of the organization at ICC is accomplished on the multi-colored magnetic calendar in the front lobby. Here, churches sign up for rooms and can see what other churches are planning. Every 6 to 8 weeks pastors and lay representatives from each church meet to update each other and offer prayer requests. While worship services are separate, 2-4 times a year the churches come together to worship and socialize. The churches that share space are: * International Community Church (Host Church) * Immanuel Deaf Church (ASL) * Community of Love Christian Fellowship * Overseas Burmese Christian Fellowship (Burmese) * Iglesia Cristiana Jesucristo Vive (Latino/Caribbean) * Greater Boston Refugee Ministry Description The Church was built in 1930. It is a 3-story building, with hardwood floors and many small rooms and hallways. The four main rooms on the first floor are all common space: the auditorium, the sanctuary, the "little chapel" and the children’s room. The first two rooms are used for worship, while the comfortable chapel is for smaller meetings. The second floor is for office space; each church has an office cubicle and storage. On the lowest level are the dining room, the "No Name Room", the "Basement Lounge," and a room for teens. There are also quarters for a resident, who provides security and some maintenance. Activities and Schedule On Sundays, the church building buzzes with activity from morning to night. About 250 worshippers attend one of the seven churches that day. At any given time, three churches of seven are in rotation using all the common rooms. Large-scale events with all the churches happen a few times a year. A joint worship service and feast happen yearly, as do a summer festival and a state park outing. The ICC also holds adult and children’s Sunday school (“Sunday’s Cool”), monthly potlucks, weekly candlelight worship, and a yearly one-week “After-Supper Bible Camp” for kids. For more information about activities and worship times please see the ICC website. Outreach The ICC provides office and/or meeting space for a number of organizations including Parents Helping Parents, the Boston Faith and Justice Network, and Living Sound Entertainment (a sound production studio out of the Burmese Church). An important ICC ministry is encouraging small groups, which are loosely organized Bible study and fellowship groups that meet at the ICC and in members’ homes. Updated listings can be found on the ICC website. A second dynamic ministry is the Rock Concert Ministry, aimed at teens and young adults. Thousands of young people have come to see straight edge (drug and alcohol-free) shows at the ICC over the last 6 years. Bands come from across the country to give concerts ranging from hardcore to indie rock, Emo to Christian. Shows are attended by up to 400 teens and young adults. There is no overt preaching but a pastor is usually on hand. The ICC also supports a number of missionaries and has a “Bring the Children Fund” that helps children who come to the U.S. be reunited with their families. The church also works with political refugees, helping people navigate the immigration process. Affiliation with Other Organizations The ICC has “strong friendship ties” to the Conservative Baptists and the Emmanuel Gospel Center (EGC) . It is a member of TABCOM (The American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts) and is part of the Allston-Brighton clergy network.