In the mid 1980s, Rockville Church of the Nazarene in Rockville, CT was planted by Pastor Raymond “Flick” Grezel and his ministry team as an outreach to the lower income community in Rockville. In 1989, the church purchased a property on Park St in downtown Rockville, CT. In the early 1990s, as an extension of Pastor “Flick’s” ministry, members of the church began reaching out to local children and families on the streets and parks with puppet shows and skits, inviting them to Vacation Bible School. VBS grew quickly. In 1995, the church had grown out of the Park St location and rented a property at 47 East St in Rockville. The Park St building became the ministry center to local children and families. Late in 1996, the ministry team decided that instead of reaching out for VBS during the summer, they would reach out year round during the school year to families, and The Rock Ministry was born. Friday night was the time where kids and families would come to learn the message of the Bible, gain support, and have fun together in a safe environment. Most of the families walked to the Rock in its central, downtown location. In 2000, the church had purchased the property on East St. In 2005, The Park St property was sold and The Rock was moved to the new church location, which could hold more children and families and help connect them to the larger church. A challenge was presented in getting the families to this new location, and the ministry team slowly diminished as less children and families were able to become a part of The Rock. In 2006, the current ministry director of eight years was called to become a full time Pastor and the future of The Rock was in question.
A handful of members of the church came together in an effort to continue to ministry that had been at the heart of RCN for many years. In the Fall of 2006, a new ministry director was appointed and small team was established. The task at hand was difficult, as there were only a few kids that had remained as a part of the ministry. The new staff members began hitting the streets in similar fashion to the founders of the ministry in the 90s, looking for kids to share the hope and love of Christ with. In September, the first service under new leadership took place with two dozen kids in attendance. Slowly but surely, more kids came out each week as the staff continued to be faithful to reach out, and by the end of the school year, The Rock ministry had reached over 50 children with the message of the Gospel.
Due to a change in jobs, the new ministry director had to move out of state, and yet again The Rock was in transition. Another new leader was appointed from the current staff of almost fifteen and continued the growth that had taken place over the past year. A second van was purchased to transport the many new faces who wanted to be a part of the Rock. In 2008, a third van was purchased. The ministry staff continued to grow to over twenty volunteers, and at that time was led by the Lord to spend more time establishing relationships with the more than eighty children and families that were attending each week. By God’s provision, a Friday night meal began in 2009. In 2010, the current director was called to become a Pastor in another church, and the ministry was searching for yet another director. Todd Schneider, our current director, was appointed in 2010.
Todd took over a growing ministry and staff. The Friday night attendance was near 100 each week, and many staff members continued to join on and minister to the kids. Weekly prayer and bi-weekly visitation began in 2010, and the ministry continued to consistently grow. Two adult groups were formed, a teen discipleship ministry was put into place, and more families attended almost every week. In 2013, a fourth van was added for transportation to get all the families who wanted to become involved. In 2014 The Rock planted a new location through a partnership with the Salvation Army Church in Manchester, CT. In spring, 2015 The Rock was established in Meriden, CT in partnership with Wallingford Church of the Nazarene and The Hispanic Church of the Nazarene. In late 2015 The Rock was established in Windsor Onterio, Canada in partnership with Bethany Romanian Pentecostal Church of God . In the summer of 2015 The Rock held it's first "Rock Camp" in New Hampshire where over 100 children attended kids camp for free though a generous donation by Windsor Hills Camp.
Today, there are over 220 people attending The Rock in Rockville. There are more than forty staff members, with more than twenty staff participating in weekly home visitation to the families. Eight vans run full every Friday night, plus many children are dropped off every week, and some staff members pick kids up in their personal vehicles. The Rock Manchester is growing in attendance with almost 100 children on a Thursday night. They run several vans to pick up children and in the spring of 2016, established weekly visitation. In Meriden, their opportunities are unique because their services are held at a local park surrounding the projects their children live in. They are commited to weekly visitation to each child's home. At their Saturday services they have the opportunity to minister to the many children and families who come as well as the homeless who walk by. They never know how many people are truly being reached because many people also listen through their open windows. In Windsor, Onterio The Rock takes place monthly and the staff are comitted to visiting their children and knocking on new doors to expand their area of influence. Each location provides a warm meal to their children and families.
This is an exciting time for The Rock. The future looks bright. Through the years, many children and adults have come to a saving faith in Christ through this ministry. Those who are saved typically serve and help the next generation learn about the life changing hope that is available in Christ Jesus. It is through Christ that the ways have opened to grow and expand The Rock in these new locations and we look forward to what God has in store for his people.
The future is unwritten, but the Lord of the Harvest has a mighty plan to bring hope to as many families as possible through The Rock. The Rock is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and registered Nazarene Compassionate Ministry Center, which has enabled The Rock to enhance the ministry in Rockville, CT. We are taking steps to add educational programs for the children and families, and more continuous food and clothing distribution in Jesus name, and even a new ministry center location to more effectively impact the community and the world. The Rock would like to join other churches and Christian organizations to partner with them to help facilitate and begin ministries of compassion to the lost and hurting world. We are currently in communication with two other churches wishing to establish The Rock in their communities. We serve a big God who has a big plan for this ministry. The Rock has been established in Rockville, Manchester, and Meriden, CT as well as Windsor Ontario, Canada.
Past Rock Ministry Directors: Bob Severson (1997-1998), Rick Nason (1999-2006), Chris Vanscoy (2006-2007), Jon Grous (2007-2009), Todd Schneider (2010-Present)