By Shana Adkisson
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Phil Scowden never expected to be in the situation he’s in right now. But, that doesn’t stop Phil Scowden from thanking God everyday for the opportunities that he has been given.
One of the opportunities that Scowden is grateful for was serving as youth pastor at CrossPointe Church for almost nine years under now retired minister Joe Grizzle.
Scowden also is thankful for the opportunity to be a part of building a church in Moore, One Church, with another pastor friend of his.
But, Phil Scowden is mostly appreciative of the church family he has now at Echo Church in Norman.
The church has had modest beginnings and actually started with a phone call from several former staff members and interns of CrossPointe Church telling Scowden they wanted to start a church in Norman.
“We started praying and thinking and seeing if it was a God thing or a gut thing. I wanted to make sure it was the right motivation to do what we were going to do,” Scowden said.
After getting the signs from above that he needed to move forward, Scowden, along with about 40 others founding members of Echo Church, started meeting in a backyard every other Wednesday night. That was a year ago July.
And through more prayer and even more determination, Echo Church kept on thriving. The church acquired property last September at 1370 N. Interstate Drive, which formerly housed the University of Phoenix, in the Robinson Crossing shopping center.
“For us, we felt God wanted us to be over here,” Scowden said. “We had one month to flip it. We opened up last year on Oct. 16. We had an enormous amount of help. A lot of other churches donated everything from chairs, speakers, to projectors. It’s been a great year. We have just seen God’s fingerprints all over this place and the lives of the people. It’s been phenomenal. We’ve got a really great group.”
During the service at 11 a.m. on Oct. 21, the 130 members of the church along with Scowden will celebrate the church’s first birthday with videos of what the church has accomplished and testimonials. And, of course, no birthday celebration would be complete without inflatables, balloons and a massive birthday cake.
Affiliated with Freewill Baptist Church, Echo Church has a general demographic of ages 20-50, Scowden said.
“We’re very casual. The music is, I call it passionate rock. We’re fairly loud,” Scowden said.
With a lease that expires in two years and an increasing congregation, Scowden knows that the location of Echo Church will one day have to change.
“We dream big. We pray big. We expect big things. We’re happy with where we are at, but we are not content. We’re continuing to try to love the community and help the community build bridges,” Scowden said.
Echo Church is more than just a name, Scowden said.
“The reason we chose echo is that we are hoping that our voice doesn’t just stay here in Norman. In five years, we hope to be here, but this March we are building an orphanage in Nicaragua called Project Hope. On our birthday, that day, every single penny is going to go to build that place. We’re hoping to raise $15,000 that day. That’s our first echo. We want our voice to go further than just here. And we feel that our lives are God’s echo,” Scowden said.
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