And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21 esv
What a special season we're in. The anticipation of a new year. The expectation of Jesus moving among us. The excitement of moving & the new opportunities to make the reality of Jesus known. Evidences of grace + God's provision abound.
Over the past couple months there have many conversations, prayers, meetings, discussions, etc - and as the Lord has led we have endeavoured to listen to His voice saying 'This is the way, walk in it'. Your elders & lead team have fasted & prayed. Many of you have done the same.
Through His word, His peace, and His provision, it is clear that the Lord has opened up this opportunity for our community to put down some roots in the Fraser/Mount Pleasant neighbourhood for this next chapter of Reality Church.
This process has been slow, marked with contentment and intentionality, but not without a few pauses & hiccups. Thank you for your patience & prayer. Now is the time to coordinate our hearts, minds & hands in preparation for the season ahead.
Our New Address is: 808 E 19th ave (map)
After considerable prayer & discussion, we've settled on referring to the new space simply as 'The Chapel'. Although we agree with the missional-multiplication model of the urban 'parish', calling our place of equipping, gathering & worship 'the chapel' seems theologically accurate, missionally consisent & culturally accessible for our context.
Some responses to FAQ's about this transition:
HOW LONG IS THE LEASE?
It's an initial 3 year lease, renewable for another 3 years. After that time (2020) we will pray & go (or stay) where Jesus leads. Our expressed intention is to multiply and reproduce, including sending out a group to plant another parish community in another neighbourhood of Metro Vancouver.
WHEN DO WE MOVE?
Transition dates are set with built-in flexibility. We're anticipating the following transition schedule:
- Jan 11th - last Sunday at Dickens
- Jan 18th - Commissioning Sunday - single gathering
- Jan 25th - Multiplication Sunday - first Sunday with 2 gatherings
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Since it's construction & dedication in the 1930's, with the exception of the past decade, this building has continuously operated as a Parish Church. Whether by Danish Lutherans for 50 years or Chinese Anglicans for 25 - the Gospel has been boldly proclaimed & generously expressed into this community by a neighbourhood church. The idea of 'parish' (as in neighbouring & spiritual care in place & proximity) is experiencing a resurgence in popularity. However, not all communities have positive connotations with this lanaguage. Therefore, we've decided to simply calling the space, the Chapel. Which more accurately connects the historicity, functionality & missiology of this space.
Importantly, we're praying & considering deeply language related to people, place & presence. We do not want to slip into the language of calling a building or gathering space a 'church'. God's people are his bride, the church, and we meet in various spaces for worship, equipping, proclamation, prayer & to serve our neighbours. When someone asks you about 'the chapel', we can explain that this is simply where we gather to grow in grace & in truth, to serve our neighbours, and to be a blessing to our city.
WHY ARE WE MOVING TO 2 GATHERINGS ON SUNDAY?
This is an important and challenging part of the transition, and we are not unaware it will mean significant stretching for our community. We asked the Lord for a space that seated at least 200, and this barely meets that criteria. We are also aware of our community dynamic, valuing fellowship around the cafe and connect area. So we will be setting up chairs for 180, leaving space for a cafe, setting up tents & heaters outside for fellowship, etc. We're also anticipating the 30 minutes between gatherings to be a time for increased connection. Please pray about this and lean into how to best make this transition. If we don't want to reach more people for Jesus, we wouldn't be doing this. But that's explicitly what making the Reality of Jesus known entails. When we pray for revival, we anticiapate growth. And as we grow, our intent is to multiply / reproduce / church plant in the coming years.
WHAT TIMES WILL WE GATHER ON SUNDAY?
Through January 18, we'll continue to meet at 10:30am. Starting January 25th, however, we'll have an early gathering and a late-morning gathering. Times may be modified as we grow & learn, but intially we're set at:
- First: 9:09am - 10:30am
- Second: 11:00am - 12:20am
WILL KIDS CHURCH BE OFFERED AT BOTH SERVICES?
Great question - we're still praying & surveying our community as to what's best. At this point, we're leaning towards having nursery through pre-school care for both gatherings, and offering full KidsChurch only at the 11am gathering. As we grow this may change, but we'll experiment, pray, get used to the space & flow, and the modify accordingly. Our ability to offer full kids ministry depends on the commitment of our servant-missionaries / covenant members.
WHAT WILL BE SOME OTHER CHANGES?
Very few liturgical changes. That is, we'll still have the same flow through our services, with music, song, scripture, sermon, response & sending. However, we will have slightly less time for music & the message. With a priority on fellowship and story-sharing, we're remodeling with the intention of creating space to enjoy a beverage, homebaked goodness, and share life together. An outside covered area is being designed, with a heater for winter months, to help facilitate our connection space.
WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS TO SERVANT TEAMS, MUSICIANS & KIDS WORKERS?
In general we anticipate Sunday morning time commitment to be very similar. Here are some proposed times:
- 7:30am - Doors open for musicians & cafe / hospitality team
- 7:45 - 8:40 - House Band prayer & warm up
- 8:40 - 8:50 - Pre-Gathering Prayer - open to ALL
- 8:50 - 9:09 - Hospitality team ready to welcome
- 9:09 - 1st Gathering Start time
- 10:30 - 1st Gathering END time
- 10:30 - 11:00 - transition. Cafe open, Fellowship inside, outside & downstairs
- 11:00 - 2nd Gathering Start time
- 12:20 - 2nd Gathering END time
- 12:20 - 12:30 - Fellowship / connect time
- 12:30 - 12:45 - Cleanup & head out for lunch
- 1:00pm - occasionally we'll offer classes immediately after the gathering.
There are many bugs to work out, and we'll all be flexible, pray hard, serve with joy, and work them out.
Thankfully, we're not the first church to go through this transition, so we have many groups to learn from. Reality is special, our context is fairly unique, but there are many lessons to learn, and a wonderful group of servants to learn alongside. Let's move forward together seeking God's glory & the city's good. As your Serve Team leaders contact you in the days ahead, please lean into serving through the winter and be part of working out these transition challenges together.
HOW CAN I HELP SUPPORT THIS WORK?
Prayer is most important - although help during the move would also be appreciated. We antipate moving the Dickens equipment the week of Jan 11-17. The SOMA office will transition the week of Jan 18 - 24. Contact Tim Sittler for details and to get involved.
Your lead team is open & eager to hear from you, the congregation. We are humbled by your support.
Looking forward to our time together as we prepare our hearts for the new year on mission.