2009- In September of 2009, seven missionaries and their four children moved from Connecticut/NYC to plant the Mission Chattanooga. They knew no one in Chattanooga, but felt called here through a dream God gave to Angie Sorensen. In February of 2010, the Mission launched their first worship service, Evensong. Over time, the Mission began to grow. Now with hundreds of worshipers each week, the Mission Abbey has expanded to multiple sites (chapels).
Heritage Stanwich - Evensong (the first worshiping community of the Mission) was born as a community within Stanwich Church, in Greenwich, CT, a historic New England church that is over 280 years old. In August of 2009, a team of seven adults, including Evensong co-founder Chris Sorensen, felt led to move to Chattanooga to plant The Mission. Stanwich prides itself as being a church that strives to find a balance always between truth and grace. The Mission Chattanooga has been tremendously influenced by Stanwich Church and sees itself as it’s daughter.
The Brainerd Mission - In 1817, a Mission was formed in the Chattanooga area to reach out to the Cherokee people and African-American slave population in the region. This community, named the Brainerd Mission, soon became a vibrant and unusually healthy multi-ethic congregation. Whites and Cherokee worshiped side by side with black slaves. The Brainerd Mission, founded by a group of Congregationalists from New England, was avidly opposed to the enslavement of blacks. In some cases these missionaries were even jailed for possessing anti-slavery literature and teaching black children to read and write. As the views of these missionaries became public knowledge, many slaves were drawn to the Brainerd Mission. These slaves would travel up to 17 miles (a long distance in those days) to worship at the Brainerd Mission, alongside the Cherokee and whites. The Cherokee and slaves also were educated side by side within the Brainerd Mission. At its peak, the Mission even utilized both Cherokee and African-American slaves as educators and translators.
Although not without difficulties, controversies, mistakes and imperfections, the Brainerd Mission continued to prosper until the devastating Cherokee removal of 1838. The Missionaries opposed this policy, and many of the Missionaries went with their Cherokee brethren on the trail of tears. Among those who went was Rev. Daniel Butrick, whose journal provides one of the most informative accounts of the horrific event. [Information accumulated from Ties That Bind, by Tiya Miles]. In the spirit of those Missionaries from long ago, the goal of The Mission Chattanooga is to gather all types of people to live in a vibrant, socially conscious community of faith.