Fifth generation pastor Apostle Larry Aiken and Pastor Olivia Aiken are known as the dynamic duo leading the Baptist church, Memorial Church International located at 11424 Hickman Mills Dr. Kansas City, MO.
What makes their services unique, they say, is that the two will lead services together and take turns leading services on different days of the week.
“We approach ministry as a team,” said Olivia, who focuses on women’s ministry, motivating and empowering women.
“We also make sure there’s something for everyone, the married, the single, the widowed, the divorced and the youth,” said Larry. “Our uniqueness is that we’re a family atmosphere.”
The two have been married for more than 46 years and grew up together in Savannah, GA before making their way to Kansas City to establish Memorial Church International in 1995.
The church has grown to host more than 2,000 parishioners, who were welcomed back in person to the church’s sanctuary last month.
Before coming back in person, the church hosted outdoor services, Park and Praise and live streaming on Facebook to keep their community safe.
While their sanctuary was closed for more than a year, their efforts to serve the community did not stop.
The church hosted COVID-19 testing and vaccination events, vaccinating more than 5,000 people in South Kansas City.
They also hosted free socially distanced movie nights and concerts to lift spirits of the community during the pandemic.
“It was just another safe outlet for people to come and celebrate,” Larry said. “It was at the height of a time when we were losing loved ones, but people had an opportunity to see their friends and just kind of rejoice for that moment safely.”
Their community food pantry, open Tuesday and Thursday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. also continued to feed hundreds of Kansas Citians.
While their sanctuary is now open, Memorial Church International is still offering Park and Praise and live streaming of services for those who feel more comfortable with worshipping at a distance.
Worship service on Sundays begins at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday virtual bible study begins at 7 p.m., and Wednesday bible study begins at noon.
“Our environment is uplifting, vibrant and charged. We want people to leave feeling empowered,” Larry said. “We make people realize that they have greatness inside them and to live up to their potential.”
Memorial Church International Holiday Services and Events:
Dec. 18: Small Business Christmas Expo and Networking Extravaganza, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Dec. 26: One Hour of Power Service, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Dec. 31: New Years Eve Service, 10 p.m.