Signs popping up around Wilmington lead to church and conversation on the riverfront

Signs popping up around Wilmington lead to church and conversation on the riverfront

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - You've probably seen them. Those signs that are popping up everywhere. Signs on street corners all over Wilmington, asking questions like 'Is church a risky place to be vulnerable?'

It's a call for conversation, not an ad, so the leaders of a unique church in downtown Wilmington say.

The Anchor Church meets at 'The Barge,' which is typically the gathering place for people boarding chartered boats like the Henrietta.

Philip Chryst is the pastor. He says while he welcomes newcomers, the signs are an invitation for conversation.

"What we're doing is we're inviting the city of Wilmington into a conversation---a conversation that's based off of these intriguing questions that we've placed all around town and what we're hoping from this conversation is that it allows us to enter into a time of mourning---mourning for what has become of the church," Chryst says.

Chryst, who trained at Duke Divinity School and is an ordained United Methodist minister, says the traditional churches have lost their purpose.

"Often times churches have turned into a top down management structure," Chryst says. "We've looked at people and treated them almost like a commodity, that they come and just listen to the great order and make sure they drop their money into the golden plates that pass by rather than engaging in meaningful relationships with each other and with God."

The Anchor is a non-denominational church. Chyrst describes the congregation of 70 to 80 people as eclectic. About 15% of them are homeless. Many are tourists looking for a place to worship on Sunday morning.

Chyrst says since the signs went up over the past week, he's been inundated with phones calls and e-mails from people curious about the questions. He welcomes the calls.

The Anchor services are held every Sunday at 9 a.m. For more information on The Anchor, click here.

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