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Eastern Star Church celebrates 100 years of service

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Special to the Recorder

For nearly three years, volunteers for Eastern Star Church had been making plans to recognize its 100th anniversary with an uplifting celebration that would accommodate 3,000 guests at a downtown hotel.

As with many events, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted those plans — which had been scheduled for December 2020.

Undaunted, the volunteers switched to Plan B — a virtual celebration featuring Grammy Award-winning artist Smokie Norful, greetings from leaders from around the country, trivia games, encouraging messages from Senior Pastor Jeffrey A. Johnson Sr. and Lady Sharon A. Johnson and highlights of the church’s ministry.

And, this time around, the guest list is unlimited. Eastern Star Church is welcoming everyone to view the 100th Anniversary Celebration which is scheduled for Dec. 18. The event will be streamed on YouTube and Facebook. Viewers also can tune in to watch the event at 7 p.m. Dec. 18 and at 9 p.m. Dec. 19 on Channel 40 WHMB-TV.

During its 100-year history, Eastern Star Church has had a significant impact on the community of Indianapolis. Pastor Johnson, who has led the church for more than 32 years, will share some of those highlights during the celebration.

Some achievements and highlights include the following:

1988: Pastor Jeffrey A. Johnson Sr., voted in as pastor on April 7, 1988. Membership 600. Leading the church for more than 32 years.

1992: Eastern Star Church opens a new church at 5750 E. 30th St., its main campus.

2001-2006: Vision of increasing outreach comes to life. Eastern Star Church plants three churches: New Life Worship Center, New Beginnings Fellowship Church, and New Horizons.

2011: Eastern Star Church dedicates the Cooper Road Church Campus, 5800 Cooper Road. Today, Eastern Star Church operates as One Church. Three locations, two in Indy and one in Fishers

2016: Eastern Star Church launches the Financial Freedom Institute (FFI) for church members to provide a practical business approach to managing financial resources and it offers online courses.

2017: Eastern Star Church launches the ROCK Initiative (Renewing Our Community for the Kingdom) to improve the quality of life in the impoverished Arlington Woods community — ZIP code 46218. It’s near the site of its main campus at 5750 E. 30th St.

• Nearly 40% of residents in the Arlington Woods area live at or below the poverty line 

• The five-year plan, paid for primarily by church members and using some of the church’s land, includes building 25 to 30 new homes in the neighborhood and affordable apartments with the help of nonprofit partners.

• Eastern Star Church has renovated and built some homes, as well as Sunstone at Arlington Woods, a commercial and residential apartment/homes facility. 

• The church also invests in neighborhood schools, donating more than $200,000 for computer equipment; supplying church mentors; and helping provide healthy meals.

2020:

• ESC Care Center helps with COVID-19 support by serving as a testing site, providing food through a drive-thru pantry, emergency rent and utility assistance and providing grants for 11 small churches.

• Church prepares to celebrate 100th anniversary with a virtual event.

• Eastern Star Church initiates plans to build a 60,000-square-foot youth center, slated to open in 2022.

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