After 15 months of meeting in our home, Oakland Communion will be hosting our very first worship gathering in a public space this Sunday, Feb 26th at 10am! This move marks a monumental shift in our life together, an opportunity and a responsibility to be of greater service to our neighbors.
While many of us are incredibly excited, there is still a touch of sadness in the sweetness of the change. But even though we are leaving our "house church" days behind, we have learned things by meeting in a home that I believe will make us a stronger community in this new chapter.
Why we're excited for the move
- We are thrilled that we will be able to live more deeply into our value of hospitality. While a home can be a warm environment, it is also an intimate one that takes newcomers tremendous courage to enter. Moving to the Washington Inn will not only give our community space to grow, but it will be more accommodating to the curious and courageous people willing to step into church for the first time or the first time in a long time.
- This move puts us in the heart of downtown Oakland, nearer to the pain and the power of our city, and reminds us of who we are for (i.e. not ourselves) by virtue of where we are meeting.
3. Finally, we're excited because, frankly, we have seen God's fingerprints all over this transition. From the way this perfect space was provided for us, to the seemingly unrelated resurgence of interest in our mission, it is as clear as could be (at least to me) that we are moving in the direction God wants us to go. And having literally no seats left in the house last week, we could not feel more confirmed in that reality.
What we're going to miss
- Steph and I are going to miss sharing our home with you all at least every week. We will always treasure the fact that our apartment has been filled with prayer, singing, vulnerability, questions, and spiritual conversations from the first day we moved in. No doubt that will all continue, just in different ways.
- The couches...definitely the couches.
- We're going to miss the immediate warmth of the environment, and how much it says about "welcome" without having to utter a word.
What we hope to bring with us
Meeting in a home has taught us so many things, but let me just share two that I think are critical to bring forward with us into our new space.
- The sense of family. Over the last 15 months, we have become a family, and 5002 Webster has been our home. But family, like church, is not about a building. Family are the people you belong to. Family is family whether you live in a house or a hotel, an apartment or on the street. Family are the people you love the deepest, regardless of how much you like them at the present moment. Family are the people you can count on to hold you up when the chips are down. This is who we have become for and with each other, and I hope we can bring that into this new chapter.
- The blending of worship and everyday life. Meeting for Sunday gatherings in a home sent a message: This time of learning with each other and from God, this time of worship, this time of holding our city up in prayer...this time is not at all separate from our daily life. We do this where we make our coffee every morning, where we have political arguments over the dinner table, and where we enjoy a documentary on Netflix. Life and worship share the same space.
That's what this season taught us. The so-called mundane--every inch of it--is infused with the sacred. And this is who we are called to be in Oakland: ordinary people infused with the presence of the Creator, so that all find communion with God. May it be so in this next chapter of our story together.