Jim Fennell

Jim Fennell

Jim Fennell

I grew up worshiping in the Catholic Church and enjoyed playing guitar in “folk mass” at St. Catherine’s church in Riverside, CT. I even once played an electric bass guitar during worship (gasp!), something that felt like it “pushed the boundaries” back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. But as is all too often the case, I wandered away from the church during high school and college. Though having lived in New England for most of my life, through a series of work-related moves, I found myself living in central Florida in the fall of 2001. While searching for some good music to listen to in the car, I settled on one particular station that played some good, catchy songs. I had no idea that WAY-FM was a Christian Contemporary station, much more popular in the south than in the northeast. In fact, I hadn’t ever been exposed to Christian Contemporary music before.

After a short while, I began to notice that my outlook was brighter, my mood was happier, and my days were better. Eventually, I put the two things together and realized that the messages I surround myself with have a profound impact on my life and that focusing on uplifting, encouraging, positive messages was doing wonders!

When we returned to Massachusetts in late 2002, my wife Deb and I began searching for a church to attend. With our newfound interest in Christian music, we tried a few of the “bigger” churches that worship with full bands and lyrics up on big screens, but we found that, though perfect for some, we weren’t really connecting with those experiences. In 2003, we decided to attend the Ash Wednesday service of the Oldtown Church, which my wife’s cousin attended and she knew as “that church that has the fall fair.”

The moment we walked into the sanctuary, and I saw Pastor Katrina Clinton standing up front, holding her guitar, and preparing for worship, I felt a profound sense of “welcome,” a feeling that was reinforced by the music that accompanied worship at Oldtown and the people that were there. By the time worship ended, I knew I had found a home, cemented by the fact that, after worship ended, I stuck around to help prepare the sanctuary for the upcoming season of Lent!

I am proud to have been worshiping with the Oldtown church for many years now and to have found a church where I can live my calling to raise my voice and my music in the worship of Jesus each and every week. The Oldtown Church is not so much a “church” as a group of Jesus-followers living out their faith together in today’s ever-changing and ever-challenging world, a comfortable place where all are welcome and all are encouraged to follow Jesus together.

Flower Ministry Leader
Kris Collins
Social Justice Ministry Leader
Deanne Bellinger