Then in 2018, something kind of amazing happened. Our Senior Pastor, the Rev. Jeff Braun, met the Rev. Lawrence Blackful, Jr., Senior Pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Chicago Heights, at a local conference on gun violence, and they immediately connected in a way that truly felt Spirit-led. After months of conversation, prayer, table fellowship, and deep reflection between Pastor Jeff and Pastor Lawrence, it became clear that God was inviting our congregations into relationship. Once vetted and prayerfully embraced by both our congregations, our official Winnetka Congregational and Bethel Baptist Church partnership was born.