Written By: Kaci Thomas
I cannot believe it has been one year.
Fall of Year One: We threw our doors open wide and invited people to come experience the kind of Christ-centered community we’d all found within Reunion Church. As we launched weekly and found a new rhythm as a church family, we definitely experienced some growing pains. However, God was reassuring us all-the-while that this season would pass, and He was simply asking us to be faithful with those He’d already brought into our midst. As we learned to love each other well in a season where there were some difficulties, we became better equipped to love those He would bring to us down the road.
Winter of Year One: Reunion had our first holiday season, and we got to start new traditions! As we lit candles together at our first Christmas Eve service and sang the words, “the thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices…” I teared up. It was such an intimate moment commemorating the instant our Savior took on vulnerable flesh so he could have relationship with us, and I was so grateful to be celebrating that with my church family. As we began the new year, it felt like a fresh wind was blowing through our midst, and God was asking us to come along with Him.
Spring of Year One: This season was marked by personal trials, and a lot of deconstruction of the ideas I’d brought into this church process. God was stripping away my cookie cutter answers, and making me come face to face with who He really is. There was a lot of wrestling, and a lot of discomfort. At the same time, we started our Kingdom Come prayer ministry, and God used my church family to minister to me through the context of prayer. Significant emotional healing and growth happened for me through the prophetic words that were spoken over me at our prayer ministry. Being in the delicate process of being reintroduced to God, it was extra sweet to celebrate Reunion’s first Easter together, being reminded that the simple but extravagant truth of Easter is the whole reason we gather.
Summer of Year One: In a season where churches typically experience lower crowds and less activity, we had more new faces getting plugged in every week. Nothing makes me happier than watching someone find a home with Reunion Church. What a testament to the vision God’s given us: in a season where we anticipated less, we experienced more newness and growth! We also stopped to reflect on where Reunion was at the close of year one, and we began asking some questions about where God was leading us.
Fall of Year Two: Those questions about where God was leading ended up in a move to Sunday mornings at Willard Intermediate. As we held our last service at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Ana, I thought back on some of the special moments that happened in that sanctuary. I thought of people I’d been able to pray for, traditions we’d begun, jokes we’d told, and the relationships that had been formed. I also thought of the personal memories I’d be carrying on with me. I thought of the times I’d played with little Cyrus up in the balcony, showing him the pretty stained glass. I thought of the time I came to the front of the room during worship and sobbed before God (and everyone else…) because I was so overwhelmed and feeling lost. My favorite memory may be the Good Friday service we helped host in that beautiful sanctuary, worshipping together with four other churches from Downtown Santa Ana, praising the same risen Savior. That sanctuary will forever hold such a special place in my heart. It was our home and refuge for a year – for our first year.
However, I am so excited to be stepping into a new adventure in our new home. I am not the kind of person who goes out looking for ways to drastically change my life. God typically has to shake things up pretty intensely to get my attention, because I love consistency and known variables.
I’m so glad Reunion doesn’t stop at just consistently good. I’m so grateful our leaders follow God into the unknown. Although it’s terrifying to be asked to risk and to be vulnerable, what is life without vulnerability? Are we really fully engaged in our lives without stepping into discomfort? I have become convinced that vulnerability and bravery are worth it every time, so although it’s not my natural state to seek risk, I am grateful for a church like Reunion that doesn’t settle for comfort, and rather pushes each other to become comfortable in the unknown and new and uncomfortable of following God.