The Student News Site of State University of New York at Brockport

The Stylus

The Stylus

The Stylus

    Misfit Hippies for Jesus – A new take on church


    A small Baptist Church in Hamlin, New York, found themselves suddenly in need of a pastor< and Andrew Chase answered the call. 

    Ordained in 2008, Chase started to work as a pastor at his church in Rush, New York and created the kind of church environment that he believed would change the way people view religion.  He called it “Jesus Chapel.”  

    The main principle of the church? All are welcome. Chase believes that churches should welcome everyone. He centers his teachings around the simple goal of creating a personal relationship with God.  

    “There are lots of churches, and I’ve been to a lot of them, but when I read the Bible it always bothers me that what I see in churches is not what I see when I read the Bible,” Chase said. 

    As a devoted Christian for over 30 years, Chase has dealt with many obstacles when it comes to feeling welcomed and keeping things simple. 

    Balancing work and ministry came at a price.  He’d spend all week traveling around North America as a salesman and then come back on Friday and work on his sermons for Sunday.  

    After seven years of building a successful church community in Rush, he decided to leave for the sake of his wife and four kids. Chase decided to ask someone to take over the church so he could focus on his family, yet this didn’t stop him from practicing ministry on his own. 

    During his hiatus from the church, he built upon his rubber-selling business, selling the materials to Amtrak and other railroad companies. Chase often spent his free time going to rescue missions and being a part of the community. After witnessing a need for connection in nursing homes, he would ask for a list of people who had no visitors and would go spend his time, listening to their stories and praying with them. 

    After his four children grew up, he felt a calling back to the pastoral life. A close friend came to him one day and offered him a position at a small church in Hamlin, N.Y. After initially turning down the position twice, he finally agreed to come on as the new pastor of Northstar Fellowship.  

    It took some time for the members of the church to adjust to Chase’s unique style of preaching. There was a difference in vision, but the members persevered and got to know Chase’s love for God and people. Chase wished to rename the church something that evoked the feeling of community that he strived so hard for at his first church, but the original members wanted to hold onto the name Northstar. His solution for this problem was to order a sign that he later nailed below Northstar, reading: “Misfit’s Church.” This slogan aims to draw in those that have felt displaced at other churches in the community.  

    Mikayla Bard-Lopez, a recent member of the church, expressed just how much she and her family needed a place like this to worship.  

    “The church made me feel very welcomed. Very happy environment. You can tell the preacher really cares about his people and getting the word out. From the experience of going to different churches and feeling judged, I can finally say I found somewhere I can be myself,” Lopez said. 

    A typical service at this church centers on food and reading the “love letters.” That is what Chase calls The Bible. You’ll often find him up on the podium in a Hawaiian shirt or handing out pizza before the service. He makes sure to greet every newcomer and make them feel welcome; something that many people find rare if you deviate from the usual norm of Christian culture.  

    “What I see in the bible, Jesus reaching out to those who are unwanted, rejected and lonely, hit a chord with me because it’s something I don’t see in churches,” Chase said.  

    The whole idea of the church is to create a comfortable environment for people to learn about God. Chase goes the extra mile in making people feel welcome. There’s no dress code, no rules and no problem too big to stop you from coming and learning about God.  

    “That’s my vision…this place filled with people falling in love with a God they never knew. To do that, I have to have people’s trust,” Chase said. 

    This quirky character, Pastor Andy, welcomes everyone to come by any Sunday for their 10:45 a.m. service, eat pizza and create community with one another.  

    Leave a Comment
    Donate to The Stylus

    Your donation will support the student journalists of State University of New York at Brockport. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The Stylus

    Comments (0)

    All The Stylus Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *