Our Story

The Story so Far...

We started with five people in a living room in Jamaica Plain. God faithfully grew our team, and we held our first-ever service on Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017, at the Curley K-8 public school. That summer we met monthly in locations all over Jamaica Plain until we finally landed at Curley for good. Our official launch of weekly services began October 1, 2017.

In 2020, the pandemic forced us to move out of Curley. We thought our time in Jamaica Plain might be over, but God had better plans. A lovely church with stained glass windows in the heart of Centre Street became available. God made a way. And we moved in!

Our building is north of one hundred years old (and looks like it in some places). But we are a young, vibrant, and diverse church in Boston.
A group of people in a church service at Curly K-8.
An early service at Curley K-8 (2018).
Friends happily hanging out near a wall and taking a picture.
The story of Arborway is not about a big-name pastor, a name-brand church, or a high-tech light show. It’s about Jesus and people. How he lived, died, and rose from the dead. How he offers eternal life. And the most amazing part: How it’s not just a great story, it’s a true story.

C.S. Lewis once said, "The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become—because He made us. …It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own."

At Arborway, we believe we are our truest selves when we follow Christ. And not to spoil the ending, but our story starts and ends with His, and our church is made up of flawed people living to know it and share it by grace. In a world of division and hate, we find unity and peace through Jesus. We think that’s beautiful.

We love this story of ours.
Woman being baptized.

Life With Jesus Together

At Arborway you will not find perfect people. None of us have arrived. None of us have it all figured out.  We are people all on a journey with Jesus... together. It's a journey to become the kind of people God has called us to be: A people of faith, love, and hope. And if you are not a perfect person, you will fit right in with us. We're living life, good days and bad, with Jesus and doing it in community. You were not meant to live life alone. You were made for relationship. That's what we mean when we say, "Life with Jesus together." 

Why Are We Called Arborway?

A Name That Reflects Boston and Jamaica Plain
Surrounding Boston is a collection of parks known as The Emerald Necklace. The Emerald Necklace was designed by the famed New England landscape architect of Central Park: Fredrick Olmstead. In the middle of these parks is Jamaica Plain, and the center stone of this necklace is the Harvard Arboretum. The Arboretum is Jamaica Plain's central park. On a spring weekend, you will see hundreds of people enjoying this beautiful garden. It is the heart of connection in our neighborhood. Going north from the Arboretum will have you walking along the Arborway and to the front steps of our church. The new name is has deep historical roots in our neighborhood.

A Name That Reflects our Unique Church Culture
We are a unique church. We don't fit neatly into anyone's box, and we think that is perfect, because Jamaica Plain is one of the most unique neighborhoods in Boston. Arborway reflects a church that's vibrant, growing, and just as each tree is unique, so are we.

A Name That Is Tied to The Scriptures
Arbor means tree, and trees are one of the most important objects in the Bible. The Bible starts with humanity in the garden walking with God. At the center of the garden was the Tree of Life which filled humanity with God’s life. Later, the inside of Israel's temple would be decorated to reflect that garden. It was adorned with trees and fruit to represent the Garden of Eden. This temple would be the hot spot of God's presence in the world for centuries. Later in Psalms, we are told that we should be like a tree planted by a flowing stream. Then in the Gospels we read about Jesus being hung on a cursed tree in our place. Yet, while the tree that was supposed to be a curse, it became life for us. Jesus then resurrects and once again walks in a garden, and is even mistaken at the gardener. Finally, at the end, there will be a new garden city with a new Tree of Life, whose leaves will heal the nations. Trees are significant in the Scriptures.
A diverse group praying.
Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University by Yassine Khalfalli.
An image of the beautiful Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University in Jamaica Plain.
Photo by Yassine Khalfalli.
Now, you are invited to walk with us on this journey. We would be honored if you would make your story a part of ours. Whether you have lived in Boston your whole life or only plan to be here for the next six days, there is a place for you at Arborway.