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Bringing the Austin Community to God at Riverbend Church

By Elisha Neubauer

Riverbend Church in Austin, Texas is a church dedicated to inclusion. What does this mean? At Riverbend, they go above and beyond to ensure that every member - whether new or seasoned - feels accepted, welcomed, and part of a family. Peter Sleeper, Executive Pastor of Riverbend Church, takes a moment to give us an inside look into the church and its goals.

"We believe in blessing others as we've been blessed and working to make others' lives better," explains Sleeper. He continues to detail many of the tasks the members of Riverbend take upon themselves. "Many people at our church serve in our Mobile Loaves and Fishes ministry."

Photo taken by John Phelps

This includes preparing food and taking the food truck out across the city to assist the homeless and under-resourced with a free meal, clothes or toiletries. "We also partner with several churches in North and South Austin, providing volunteers and other support for their efforts to serve the lower income neighborhoods around them. We are active in several other community service initiatives around the city as well."

As part of creating a community, Riverbend Church holds a variety of annual events, including a fall festival, an Easter egg hunt for children, a Daddy Daughter Dance, and a kids' day camp during the summer. The church building also hosts concerts, shows and meetings year round for local arts groups and community groups that need space to operate.

Photo taken by Krista Ross

At its heart, Riverbend is about faith and acceptance. Sleeper tells us, "The most important thing to know about us is that we go out of our way to help you feel accepted by God no matter what you've been through in your life. We take risks and do things differently in order to create an environment that is as open and welcoming as possible for people anywhere on their spiritual journey."

This includes partnering with other churches in the Austin area in a collaborative effort to bring a larger portion of the community to God. "We love the partnerships we have with churches in different areas of Austin and we look forward to growing those relationships in the years to come," Sleeper says.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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