RISE AGAINST HUNGER SEPT. 30TH

RISE AGAINST HUNGER SEPT. 30TH

All year at our REUNION South End location we’ve had a rhythm called, “5th Sunday Serve!”. With our partnerships with Blackstone School, the community center and Emmanuel Gospel center it created natural connections and opportunities to serve with and alongside our partnership. Every month with a 5th Sunday in the month we would “cancel” our regular Sunday morning gathering and find ways to partner and serve our friends and community. As a church family we started asking the question, “How can we do this all TOGETHER as ONE family?” Well – luckily for us, as families are getting back in town, students are settling in, and new folks are moving to the city, Sept 30th is a 5th SUNDAY! That’s where Rise Against Hunger comes in.

Rise Against Hunger is an international hunger relief organization that distributes food and aid to the world’s most vulnerable and just a few years ago we partnered with them by bringing both our locations together to pack 30,000 meals! (You can check out a recap video below). It was an amazing opportunity to come together as one family and serve our community and our world.

On Sept. 30th we will come together with both locations to pack even more meals with Rise Against Hunger at the Cambridge Community Center near Central Square at 10:30am. We won’t have our normal gathering at either location but instead will come together as one family, with our friends and communities to serve TOGETHER.

Here’s what we need from you:

It costs a lot of money to pack this many meals. You can donate to help us pay for the meals. Each meal cost roughly $0.25, so every little bit helps. Donate here

Register for the event and share the page with friends as an easy way to invite people to join you!

Details:

What: Meal packing event with REUNION and Rise Against Hunger!

Where: Cambridge Community Center

When: Sept. 30th, 10:30AM (No regular gatherings at either location!)

Invite some friends to join you and plan on joining us for this amazing event!

The Reunion Team

GET CONNECTED TO COMMUNITY!

GET CONNECTED TO COMMUNITY!

I was having a conversation with a friend recently and they asked how things at REUNION were going. I answered,

“Really well – we’ve been through a lot in the last few years but REUNION feels like family

All throughout the Bible we see the Church described as the family of God. This is made glaringly and beautifully obvious as you read the letters of the New Testament. After the book of Acts, almost every reference to followers of Christ is written as “Brothers and Sisters”. I don’t think this is coincidence or an accident.

If you’ve been around REUNION for even just one week you’ve probably heard us say something along the lines of, “We hope REUNION becomes a place you can call home”

That truly is one of our deepest desires for you and our community. That REUNION wouldn’t just feel like family, but would be family, and be home for you. A place where you can be challenged. A place you can be cared for. A place you can argue. A place you can laugh. A place you can cry. And a place you can grow in your relationship with Christ and with others.

One of the primary ways we experience this family at REUNION is through our community groups. Community Groups are consistent weekly gatherings of 5-15 people that come together in homes and apartments throughout the city to discuss scripture and experience life together. Like all families, they are all different sizes and make ups and no two groups look alike, but all groups share some common “family traditions”. We read the bible together. We walk through the highs and lows of life together. We dream about how we can love our neighbors and city better.

Also, like all families, there are some people you connect with better (and some people you wish weren’t part of your family) 🙂 But we love and create space for everyone at the table.

Our next session of Community Groups kicks off the week of Sept. 23rd! (Same day as our picnics at each location!)

So here is our invitation to you:

  • Join one – if you are not in a group, join one! You can find a list of nights and locations here

  • Start one – we wanna see more Community Groups all over the city, so if you have a passion and desire to create a community like this – reach out to us at info@reunionboston.com

Chris Hall

Lead Pastor

What’s growing you? (Arts edition)

What’s growing you? (Arts edition)

You can usually find me cuddled up on the couch watching Law and Order: SVU with my wife, Ruby, and our miniature schnauzer, Dallas. Ruby and I have been REUNIONers since the Summer of 2016 and I served in the arts under Mike Brown before coming on staff as the Arts Director last September. Since then, I’ve adopted a puppy, gotten engaged, married, moved, enrolled in and dropped out of seminary, began an additional full-time job as an A/V tech and gotten my appendix removed. God has been faithfully growing me through all of these changes.

 

One of our hopes at REUNION is that God is growing us all throughout life’s changes and making us a little more like Jesus each day. Sometimes it’s just hard to see exactly how He’s doing that. Chris asked the REUNION staff to share a bit about how God has been growing us lately. How is God moving in our lives? Where is God leading us? What do we love about our ministry and who is influencing it?

My favorite part of my role as Arts Director is spending time with REUNIONartists. Between sips of coffee and slices of pizza, we’ll talk about the weekly goings-on and how God is challenging us. Themes like how faith and creativity interact in our daily life, what creating “good” art for non-Christian audiences looks like and how to make a living as an artist come up pretty often. This summer, I set out to study up on some of those themes. Though my summer reading list is far from comprehensive, here are a few of the reads that are influencing me as we head into the Fall at REUNION. Of course, I would be glad to loan you any of these books if you’re interested!

“Creative Quest” is the latest book out by ?uestlove, music producer and drummer/co-frontman of The Roots. Admittedly, creativity is a tough topic to discuss and even harder to write about. Each artist is unique and what works for one doesn’t work for the other. Quest provides tons of cool stories that are sure to inspire and a few practices that are worth a shot. A few takeaways would be to trust your inner artist, challenge yourself to try new things, and be willing to let others help grow you.

A more “religious” read has been “Resident Aliens” by Stanley Hauerwas. We’ve quoted Hauerwas a few times since I’ve been at REUNION and it’s been neat to read him on my own. “Resident Aliens” isn’t a light read– I literally read every paragraph twice just to make sure I’m picking up what he’s putting down. Between the theological jargon and old white dude references, there are some really great ideas about how we live as Christians in a fallen world. Even here is not home!

Artists face the same financial challenges as everybody else, but artists are notorious for not handling those challenges well. Vicki Robin takes a radical look at personal finance in “Your Money or Your Life.” In the book, Robin seeks to change the reader’s relationship with money through introspection about how much their “life energy” is worth. I think it’s a great read for artists in particular because it challenges us to move away from the theoretical “making it” as an artist to thinking tangibly about how much is “enough.”

You can keep up with what I’m listening to by following REUNIONChristianChurch on Spotify. I curate a weekly playlist that includes 3-4 full albums by highly influential artists. On any given week, you’ll hear albums from Parliament Funkadelic to the Tedeschi Trucks Band to Tasha Cobbs Leonard to Ariana Grande. You can also check out playlists that feature our current rotation of worship songs and original music by REUNIONartists (past & present)!

I’m looking forward to what God has in store for REUNIONarts this Fall. The spirit-filled creative hive mind in REUNIONarts is so much bigger than mine and Bailey’s creative power alone. We rely on REUNIONartists to help shape and tell the gospel creatively on Sunday morning and beyond. Together, we’ll continue to reimagine what worship looks like at REUNION and dream about how we tell the story of the gospel creatively. Whether you’re new to REUNION or just haven’t served in awhile, we have opportunities for every kind of creative to serve. Challenge me on that! You can holler at me via email at zak@reunionboston.com.

The Reunion Team

Somerville Picnic

Somerville Picnic

REUNION Somerville will be having a church-wide picnic after the gathering on Sunday, September 23rd at Kenney Park (20 Grove St, Somerville, MA 02144).  It’s just minutes away from where we meet at the Somerville Theatre.  We’ll be providing drinks and sub sandwiches!

This will be a great opportunity for us to enjoy the weather and meet new people.  We hope you all can come out and join us!

When:  Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

Where:  Kenney Park (20 Grove Street, Somerville, MA 02144)

Food:  We’ll be providing drinks and subs

 

 

 

 

Theology Crawl: Environment

Theology Crawl: Environment

Welcome to the Crawl

Before you start, make sure someone gives The Schpeel to your group. 

Also, remember these conversation tips: 1) Be polite, and don’t take offense, 2) Say something if you don’t understand, 3) Ask “why” and speak up if you disagree (It’s not rude, its just a good conversation). Now, order a drink and start unpacking the deep mysteries of the universe!

The Big Question: Is there a “Christian” Approach to Environmental Issues?

The Main Questions

  • What do most people mean by “nature,” “creation,” and “the environment” How are the above three terms related? How are they different?
  • How have you seen the Christian tradition used to the detriment of environmental health? What theologies supported these actions.
  • As a group, make a quick list of contemporary issues that you would include under the heading: environmental issues.
  • Look at the “Important Scriptures” section below and answer the following  questions:
    • How do these passages describe the relationship between God the natural world?
    • How do these passages describe humanity’s relationship with the natural world?
    • Does the natural world have a purpose? If not, explain. If so, what is it?
    • Is the concept of preservation/conservation of natural resources apparent in these passages? Is it anywhere else in the Bible?
  • Was Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection significant for the environment? If not, does Jesus matter at all for the environment? If yes, how so?
  • Can a person’s understanding of the second coming of Christ, final judgement, and the new creation (i.e. eschatology) have an affect on their treatment of the environment? How so?
  • What ideas and values should form the foundation of a Christian’s response to environmental issues? How is this distinct from other approaches?
  • What are some practical things that you can do now to embody an ethical Christian response to environmental issues? Choose a few from your list above and be specific.

Important Scripture

  • The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it. For He has founded it upon the seas And established it upon the rivers // Pslam 24:1-2
  • Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” // Genesis 1:26-28
  • A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel. // Proverbs 12:10
  • You shall sow your land for six years and gather in its yield, but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat; and whatever they leave the beast of the field may eat. You are to do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove. // Exodus 23:10-11
  • But every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. // James 3:7
  • Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! “And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? “If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters // Luke 12:24-28
  • “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. // Romans 8:22-23

THOUGHTS FROM OTHERS

  • Doth not all nature around me praise God? If I were silent, I should be an exception to the universe. Doth not the thunder praise Him as it rolls like drums in the march of the God of armies? Do not the mountains praise Him when the woods upon their summits wave in adoration? Doth not the lightning write His name in letters of fire? Hath not the whole earth a voice? And shall I, can I, silent be?” // Charles Spurgeon
  • The gravity of the ecological situation reveals how deep is the human moral crisis” // Pope John Paul II
  • Climate change is an issue that impels us to think about God’s justice and how we are to echo it in our world. // Rowan Williams
  • We must accept that a number of conservative evangelicals, especially from older generations, will never support significant action on climate change, especially if it means signing a global treaty. // Lisa Vox
  • We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it. // Wendell Berry

RESOURCES

SUPPORT AN ORGANIZATION

This summer, REUNION Somerville’s generosity team has teamed up with the Northern Crawl to turn our conversations into action. Each week, after the discussion, participants will vote on an organization to support financially.

Below are the organizations that will be voted on this week: 

  • GreenFaith – GreenFaith’s mission is to inspire, educate and mobilize people of diverse religious backgrounds for environmental leadership.  Their work is based on beliefs shared by the world’s great religions – that protecting the earth is a religious value, and that environmental stewardship is a moral responsibility.
  • Sierra Club – The Sierra Club seeks to explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth. Founded by legendary conservationist John Muir in 1892, the Sierra Club is now the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization — with three million members and supporters. Their successes range from protecting millions of acres of wilderness to helping pass the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act.
  • World Wildlife Federation – For 50 years, WWF has been protecting the future of nature. The world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by more than one million members in the United States and close to five million globally. WWF’s mission is to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth..

 

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC JULY 2018 TRIP RECAP

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC JULY 2018 TRIP RECAP

Thanks to Lindsay Hicks, our July 2018 trip leader, for sharing her reflections on our most recent trip, as well as the impact of our partnership. We’re so thankful for a week serving in person alongside the Vargas family, and look forward to finally hosting Luis and Reina here in Boston this November!

Our team has been back stateside for over a week and yet so many memories are still fresh in my mind: in the ocean, Luis doing his best to remember everyone’s names as Reina helped him out by occasionally whispering in his ear. Nursing student Olivia fearlessly working with Jose as they treated deep wounds. Team debriefs on the top floor of our building all while overlooking Santiago. Sweet (and competitive) laughter during late night games with our team and Yeison, Dilson, and Primo. Kids finding joy in chalk, popcorn, and seeing their own faces on the screen. God moving in beautiful moments as the people of La Mosca prayed with our team before leaving the medical clinic. Our team sharing the burden of grief as we wrestled with how some places in the world could experience such tangible need—and our desire for God to move in ways to restore the community.

On one of the last evenings of our trip, our GO Ministries facilitator incredulously asked me, “How can your team have so much energy to stay up late to spend time with each other and the Dominicans that you know?” My answer was simple: “These people are our family. We only get to see them a few days out of the year so we want to make each moment count.” Although we may have been assisted by ice cream fuel from Bon (our second favorite place in the DR aside from La Mosca), I stand by what I said. Over the past 11 years and 12 trips, the Vargas family and La Mosca have become our family. The opportunity to love and serve in partnership has become as sweet as Bon ice cream itself. God has blessed the work that Luis Vargas and his family do every day. To partner in one week’s worth of work that mirrors the other 51 weeks out of the year is a deeply powerful blessing for our team.

This year in the medical clinic, our eyes were opened to some of the current issues within the community. We celebrated the fact that most children and adults were wearing shoes—which wasn’t the case in past years. There were still common ongoing problems like lice and parasites. And we also learned firsthand of systematic racism between Dominicans and Haitians. Although they’re neighbors, deeply ingrained prejudices have created barriers between neighbors, and can boil over into verbal and physical assault. While debriefing in our vans on the way back to our dorms, we wondered how anything could improve—how this community, as well as our communities, could ever be redeemed from the implicit hurt we saw all around us.

However, on Saturday night we were reminded that God’s intention is mightier than our current hardships. Luis asked us to divide into small groups and pray for the community around us. And people of La Mosca invited our small groups into their homes. We learned the hearts of our neighbors. We heard their desires for prayer, but we also learned about the things they value. People deeply love their families and celebrated their families’ successes. Others were grateful for their good health and the health of their children. Although our team previously struggled to find hope, our neighbors in La Mosca happily showed us where they saw moments of hope in their own lives—many with a foundational belief in Christ.

If you ask me how I’d describe our team experience in one sentence, I’d say that we experienced the Kingdom of God all while being rooted in the brokenness of this world. We celebrated the hope that Luis daily shares with his community while keeping our eyes alert to the fact that this is not how things should be. I think that we see this stateside, but often not in such extremes as in La Mosca. But at the end of the trip we flew away knowing that brokenness doesn’t have the final hold on any of us—what God is doing in La Mosca is far greater than the brokenness experienced. We only need to remember the glimpses of hope and pray that God continues to increase hope daily in La Mosca.

Leaving the Vargas family was significantly harder this year than last year. Saying goodbye to family is never easy, and it was clear that our whole team knows the Vargas family is our family. For me, the challenge is to remember and pray for my family in the other 51 weeks of the year. The partnership between REUNION and the Vargas family is such a gift—we have an all-family, all-church, and all-year partnership. I’m excited to welcome Luis and Reina to Boston this November for a week-long visit! I hope that all of our church can lovingly and graciously welcome the Vargas family just like they have done for us for so many years!

As a final note—this REUNION/Vargas family is always happy to grow! If you’d like to learn more about the trip, please reach out to any trip alumni. We’d love for you to love and serve our community in the Dominican Republic alongside us in the future!

For more info on our partnership with Luis and Reina check out reunioninthedr.com

The Reunion Team