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July 14, 2008 - 6:16pm

Batavia woman answers the calling to start a church

posted by Philip Anselmo in church, religion, abuse.

Before the year is out, Batavian Rindy Walton will quit her job as a physical therapist, get rid of almost everything she owns and move with her three young sons to a suburb of Cincinnati with no financial prospects to found an itinerant church and minister to the disenfranchised.

"We're leaving the only place we know," she says, seeming to measure the gravity of the statement. "There's not a doubt."

It was the right decision, she says. She was called to it. It had to happen. Not everyone in her life, however, was able to match her conviction. Her family rejected her. Others have said she is stupid or crazy. They ask her how she could give up everything for... for what?

"It is a leap of faith, absolutely," she says. "I've had a lot of people support this. But I've also had a lot of people criticize."

Rindy talks unflinchingly of her past. She has been through "a lot of brokenness and abuse," she says. "And a lot of other people have been through that. I can use what I've been through to help other people."

Rindy lives in Batavia where she has worked as a physical therapist for BOCES for 21 years and raised three sons, doing it mostly on her own for the past ten years. For a long time, she hid her hurt out of shame, she says. She was like so many others who felt that private pain ought to be kept private.

No longer.

"There are people who say family secrets should remain secret," she says. "But there are too many families struggling. People are suffering and it's not OK to keep things secret. People dont deserve that."

Ministry is Rindy's way of changing that. Paul Peterson, the former pastor of her church, Northgate Free Methodist, is right now in Georgia attending a "church planning registry," explains Rindy.

"He felt the call to start a new church," she says. "We want to reach people who don't attend church, people who just don't feel that they'd fit the mold."

Peterson will pastor the church that the two of them will found in Maineville, Ohio, just north of Cincinnati. Walls Down Church, as it will be known, will be exactly that: they will build up and tear down the church every week in a new venue out in the community, at schools, theaters, generally anywhere with an auditorium, bringing the church to the people, explains Rindy, rather than insisting that the people come to the church.

"That way we can go to the people," she says. "We can go where the need is. Especially for the people who are not attending church, to walk into a strange building is foreign to them. It's going to be a place where you feel comfortable, familiar."

Officially, Rindy will oversee family ministries for the church, which really means that she will work to make the church best suit the needs of its parishioners and do the most for them. She also plans to use her training as a physical therapist to accomodate families and children with special needs.

"From where I was to where I am now — there was someone who was hiding a lot of stuff, a lot of abuse, a lot embarrassment, shame," she says. "Now it's open. What's really cool is that I get to spend the rest of my life helping people who are where I was to get to where I am. That's just so cool."

If you want to donate to the Walls Down Church, send a check to Mountain Lake Church, 3105 Dahlonega Highway, Cumming, GA 30040. Indicate Rindy Walton or Walls Down Church in the Memo line. All donations are tax deductible, and Walls Down will receive 100 percent of the money.

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