"Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are building upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone ..." Ephesians 2:19-20

AURORA -- The local First Baptist Church officially will become Cornerstone Church of Aurora on April 16 (Easter Sunday), a time for celebrating rebirth and new beginnings.

The Rev. Drew Carroll, the church's pastor, said the new name reflects Ephesians 2:20 and members' desire to continue "building families on Christ, the cornerstone."

The congregation met several times last summer to discuss its future, and the idea for the name change arose out of those discussions, said Carroll.

"As part of those meetings, that's when we determined our new church vision would be building families on Christ, the cornerstone," he said. "We're excited about the new vision and outreach that Cornerstone is taking, as we strengthen our commitment to help families build their lives upon Christ, the cornerstone."

Congregation member Rick Myers of Streetsboro said part of the goal of the new name is to place Jesus Christ and His teachings, along with the rest of the Bible, at the center of the Cornerstone Church of Aurora's beliefs.

"Christ is the stone upon which the church is built, and, of course, the church is not a building; it's the people," he said. "The cornerstone reflects that we are a body of believers that base our beliefs on the solid rock of Jesus."

Carroll said the church's name change also heralds a "renewed" focus on the family.

"In the seven years I've been pastor, our congregation has become much younger," he said. "Nationwide, congregations are graying, and that's certainly something that we don't want to affect us. We're kind of trying to buck that trend."

In keeping with the goal of focusing on families, Carroll said the congregation recently hired family ministry Pastor Matthew Russell, who will focus not only on providing activities for youth, but also on those that bring the whole family together.

Some of those include entertainment events, a camping trip planned this summer at Punderson State Park, pool parties, movie nights and more.

Another ministry that families may appreciate is My First Preschool, which Carroll said is growing. It includes 125 participants this year and has 110 already registered for next year.

"It functions as a ministry of our church," he said, adding the church has never had so many students registered at this point in the year.

The school also features a new indoor playground in the church's family center, according to a recent news release.

Carroll, who grew up in Streetsboro's Faith Baptist Church, now has a partnership with that church's Upward Sports programs, which provide basketball and flag football leagues presented "in a wholesome family atmosphere."

For the church's youngest members, there is junior church and nursery care, which take place during the worship service, he added.

For children age 4 through sixth-grade, Carroll said Club 306 is available. That group meets monthly. "They do some really cool activities," he said. "We just went to a Christian concert at the Wolstein Center."

The Cornerstone Cafe at the church, which was recently created, provides "a gathering place for families to connect with other families," states the news release. The cafe provides free refreshments and gourmet coffee on Sundays prior to the service.

Sunday worship services are at 10:30 a.m. at the church, 79 E. Mennonite Road. For additional information, call 330-562-8233.

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