A Letter to Our (E)merging Church


In a world that is increasingly divided and sees no hope in a fragmented and segregated church, we believe unifying two racially and culturally distinct churches like Oakland Communion and The Way Church sends a compelling message about the power of the gospel of Jesus to bring human beings together.

For about 18 months now, we have been working toward unity between Oakland Communion and The Way. We started climbing the mountain of unity in the fall of 2016, reached basecamp and stayed there to acclimatize for awhile during 2017, and now we are on our way to the summit.

Why start a new church together?

We believe that through our unity, God will empower us to:

  1. Transform the City -  As a church that represents every segment of Oakland, our awareness of and commitment to every need for justice in the city will be dramatically increased and we will effectively participate in making Oakland a place for all people. On a spiritual level, the good news about Jesus is most impactful in relationship, and we will be able to reach people together that we never could apart.

  2. Transform the Church - In Revelation 7:9, the apostle John shares a vision of God’s world as it should and will be—a vision of people from every tribe, nation, and language worshipping their Creator as one people. Much of the New Testament is dedicated to calling the church to live that future reality now. What if this caught on? What if other churches around the Bay Area, the country and the world started coming together?

  3. Transform our Selves - The apostle Paul, speaking to a racially and culturally diverse Ephesian church, tells them in Ephesians 4:1-3 that they must live a life worthy of the calling they have received to be just that kind of church. If we want to live a life worthy of a calling that high, we need a calling worthy of living that kind of life. One thing is absolutely certain, participating in this united church will transform us into different people, with more honesty, compassion, humility, and grace than we ever thought possible.

When is this happening?

We’re ecstatic to announce that on June 3rd, 2018, we will have our first service as one new, united church!

If you weren’t there for our joint service on Sunday morning or our Vision Night on Sunday evening, you might like some more dates and details.

Dates to put on your calendar now:

Joint Services (locations TBD)

- March 25 (Rudy Gonzalez speaking)

- April 1 (Easter!)

- April 22 (Candy Gibson speaking)

Family Camp

May 25-28 @ Redwood Glen

Unity Service

June 3 (location TBD)

What do I need to do?

Pray - In the history of the church, nothing spectacular has ever happened without God doing it. And this is spectacular. We need, as a church, to be drowning this entire process in prayer, asking God to make us one, to open doors for relationship, and to give us one mind and one heart for ministry and mission in Oakland. Pray that God would give you a heart of faith, ready to risk and commit to this community.

Prepare - In addition to prayer, there are a variety of ways you can prepare yourself and our church for this merger. Commit to making all of the above dates. Read books that might help you process change and the work of reconciliation in the church (short list below). If you haven’t finished journaling through Multiethnic Conversations, make that a priority. Invite someone you don’t know to coffee or dinner just to get to know each other. We each have a big role to play in this transition.

Invite - Bring your friends, family, coworkers and neighbors to a joint service! They can get a taste of what we are doing, which we’re confident will be compelling whether or not they would consider themselves a church-going person. We do not exist to pat ourselves on the back, but to intrigue and invite others into the life that Jesus has called us.

During this process, know that we are praying for you. This is a huge change for all of us, but we trust that our God, who has always led his people, will continue to lead us and guide us through this crazy, exciting, and inspiring journey.

Your pastors and brothers,

Bernard and Kyle

Book list: