BreakThru gathers in downtown Stratford
Pastor Frederick Killian runs non-denominational program
Shakespeare Avenue in Stratford is pretty much like many other small town main streets: here’s the grocery store, a couple of restaurants, a clinic and a chiropractor’s office, the library across the street. That’s until you get to the attractive storefront with an awning, the windows painted with the words “Come empty–Receive Love–Leave Fulfilled.”
The building is home to BreakThru, a unique non-denominational program for ages 16 and up that’s targeted specifically to engage the young adult community.
“We don’t exclude anyone,” stated Pastor Frederick Killlian, or PK as he is better known at BreakThru. “We have people coming from all the area churches here in town and in the surrounding area. The whole thing is for them to come and talk about things.”
Killian, minister for Calvary United Methodist Church in Stratford and South Marion United Methodist Church south of Stratford for two years now, was inspired to start Break Thru in October of 2018. After considering several locations in town to house the brand new program, the empty building on main street appeared to be the perfect location.
“We chose to be in this building because it’s neutral,” the minister said. “I think it’s very powerful and amazing to have people this age paying for a building.”
The Stratford Community Development Corporation, which owns the building, agreed to rent it to the group. Following renovations that included paint and new floor covering, the rooms offer plenty of comfortable space for the Wednesday evening meetings of the group, which usually draw 20 to 40. Those gatherings offer time for informal visiting, contemporary lessons and music, and small group break-out sessions.
“Everything we do comes from the Bible,” Killian explained, “but we don’t do it in a Sunday School kind of way. We look at what’s happening in our world now.”
He emphasized that the churches he serves have always been supportive of BreakThru.
“I won’t not give credit to the United Methodist churches for sponsoring the building, but I don’t want to send the message that this is a Methodist thing,” he went on.
Members of BreakThru also do outreach in the community, activities like visiting residents of the Stratford Care Center and Athens Woods Estates, hats and mittens drives, clean-up of properties that owners are unable to care for. Fund drives are also on the docket.
Killian can hardly contain his enthusiasm when he talks about Break Thru.
“What’s going on here is nothing short of amazing,” he stated. “We see several new faces every week.”
Killian’s wife, Tanya, is very involved with the unique outreach, too. She sees the importance of BreakThru as “a positive support system. I think it reaches to people’s souls and hearts and what they need. We meet people where they are. People aren’t meant to be alone.”
The Killians’ daughter, Emma, 19, is secretary for BreakThru.
“My favorite thing is that you can come in here and be yourself. It’s nice to know that no one here judges you,” she commented.
Her brother Elijah, 18, is music director for BreakThru, while brother Gabriel, 17, serves as missions director.
“Here we meet people where they are. There’s no judgment,” her dad agreed.