Massachusetts Churches Unify Under the Gospel

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Massachusetts Community Unifies Under the Gospel

Story and photos by Kana Small

During times of uncertainty, division, and tension, more than ever it’s time for the body of Christ to unite as His Church, in order to reflect His love and light to a world that continues to grow even darker.

On September 11, in the small New England city of Fitchburg, MA, local churches felt the burden and need to come together to bring the comfort and hope of Christ to their community on a day that has long been marked with pain and grief throughout our nation. Two Calvary Chapel pastors were among those ministering to the city—Johnny Zacchio from Calvary Chapel of Grace and Truth in Yonkers, NY, and George Small from Horizon Christian Fellowship in Fitchburg.

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First responders from Fitchburg, MA, stand during a community remembrance of 9/11. Besides remembering the tragic events of that day, local churches worked together to bring the comfort and hope of Jesus Christ to the small city. After a presentation by Pastor Johnny Zacchio of Calvary Chapel of Grace and Truth in Yonkers, NY, six people accepted Christ as their Savior.

Fitchburg is a spiritually oppressed city with a reputation for crime, drug distribution, witchcraft, unemployment, and brokenness. Yet, in order to reach the community with the love of Christ, churches of all different denominations, ethnicities, and backgrounds gathered for the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

Sharing the Gospel

At the Fire Department’s tribute ceremony, Pastor Johnny was invited to speak to and pray for the first responders and city officials—and at least six people gave their hearts to Christ in response to the Gospel.

Later that day, local churches gathered at a city park for a 9/11 Day of Remembrance event. The unity among the body of believers was strong, and the peace of God ruled as a dozen churches from different backgrounds came together during a time of worship and prayer for the nation.

The churches then joined together to host a 9/11 Memorial Service, where pastors and city officials gave tributes honoring the sacrifices of the first responders and to remember the many lives that were impacted by the tragic events. Pastor Johnny then shared the Gospel message again with more than 250 people, and a few more individuals gave their lives to Christ at the altar call.

“It was incredible to witness the unity among the churches and community, and to see the ways the Lord was at work to bring His light and hope into a city that has been under such darkness and tension for so long,” according to Pastor George.

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Jessie Greska (left), church secretary at Horizon Christian Fellowship (HCF) in Fitchburg, prays with a woman between 9/11 commemoration services. After the events of this day, community churches formed a new outreach to continue to change the New England area with the Gospel.

Historical Connection

George described a poignant historical moment that occurred at the city park that day. “As we gathered to remember the day when then-President George W. Bush called out an attack against U.S. freedom, we came across a memorial stone honoring the April 19, 1775, rendezvous of Fitchburg’s Minutemen to rally against British soldiers at Concord, MA. So on 9/11, we were remembering the battle for freedom on the very site where soldiers gathered in Fitchburg to march to the first battle of the Revolutionary War, the beginning of our national battle for freedom.”

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Local Fitchburg pastors and church leaders enjoyed fellowship during the event. From left to right are Kana Small, daughter of HCF Pastor George Small; Pastor George; and Johnny Zacchio. George noted, “It was incredible to witness the unity among the churches and community, and to see the ways the Lord was at work to bring His light and hope to a city that has been under such darkness and tension for so long.”

Continued Unity

The unity in Fitchburg has continued as believers have formed a new outreach called “Churches Unite,” where fellowships in the area will join together in a coordinated effort to reach the New England area with the Gospel. “It is amazing to think of how much more God can do among His Church as a whole, if His love could override the darkness and division that is present in a small city like Fitchburg,” George said. “The unity that is found in Christ alone is what overcomes. It’s His love that unites us, and His love that bridges over any barriers, and crosses over any divide; it’s what brings us together in order to reach the individual hearts of the souls that are seeking to know our God.”

Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” May our nation know His love, by the way we love His bride, the Church, and come together in unity to make His heart known to our communities.

Johnny exclaimed, “It was so awesome to see several churches coming together in unity with one common goal: to share the hope that we have in Christ through the life-changing message of the Gospel and to encourage and comfort those who still suffer the loss of that tragic day on 9/11. I was so blessed to be part of it!”


Visit the websites of Calvary Chapel pastors featured in this article:
Pastor George Small, Horizon Christian Fellowship:
Pastor Johnny Zacchio, Calvary Chapel of Grace and Truth in Yonkers, NY:


Pastor George Small has been involved in Christian radio since 1994; today, his church runs Renew FM 90.1 in Fitchburg. You can learn more or listen live at


All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2021 Calvary Chapel Magazine (CCM). All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.