Sixteen people gather at the River of Life Church at 525 S. Boulevard in Idaho Falls. It’s 6:30 p.m. on a Tuesday.
I walk into the chapel, and in the back corner, chairs are formed in a circle, surrounding a table. On the table are a few bibles for people to use. There is also a plate of cookies, banana bread and pitcher of water.
Clearly, the meeting is intended to be discussion-based, comfortable and very informal.
Gordon Boyle, the guest pastor for the night, begins the meeting by asking everyone to introduce themselves to the group. They go around the entire circle, and then Boyle begins the meeting with a prayer.
“Lord Jesus, we just thank you for your word. It leads and guides and I thank you for the folks you brought here tonight,” he said.
Most of the people in attendance are men, and some of them are packing guns. The one thing they have in common is their occupation. All of them currently work in or are recently retired from a career in law enforcement. Multiple women and children are in the circle as well, but they’re all there for one purpose: to worship and study the word of God in their own way and on their own terms.
“And we just pray that as we go through your word, you’ll teach us little things that we need to know. And help to have that understanding of who you are, why you came, and what that means to each of us … In Jesus’ name, Amen,” Boyle prayed.
Welcome to Finding Faith, a podcast exploring the history, culture and beliefs of different denominations in eastern Idaho.
In this episode, the origin of Cop Church, how it brings a special bond for the men in blue and at the same time, a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.
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