Seven years ago with a baby on the way Jess and I joined nine other adults in the crazy adventure of trying to start a new church on the east side of Vancouver. This church ended up being called Renovatus (Latin for “renovation”). Over the course of those seven years we poured out our lives for and with this fledgling faith community. And in January of this year they waved goodbye to us as we began to take next steps in the journey of starting a new movement in downtown Vancouver. This week I was struck not only by how blessed I have been in my past by Renovauts but how they continue to play an active role in loving me and transforming the reality of my future. So with that said, here are a few words that I feel like I need to say to this beautiful community…
I have a lot to thank you for. My kids don’t know what church is outside of you. They don’t know that some people don’t have to setup their church out of a box each week. Thanks to you my kids don’t know how to behave in church because you were a safe place for them to be…well…to be kids. My kids have fond memories of their time with you. Thank you for that gift.
I have a lot to thank you for. You’ve cared for me in amazing ways—creating space for me to learn how to be a leader. Forgiving me for my awkwardness, for my randomness, and my mistakes. You let me experiment on you as I got excited about different ideas and processes. I wouldn’t be who I am if it wasn’t for you (I hope that’s a compliment!).
I have so much to thank you for—you’ve provided space for two former homeschoolers to learn how to be more normal, to learn how to do church in a way that’s so weird that it works, and to develop some lasting relationships that we wouldn’t otherwise have.
I’m indebted to you for providing a place for people I care deeply for. Over the years and
to this day many of those I love have found a place in your community and its not because of some special program that you offer but because of who you are and how you love. Thank you.
I’m indebted to you for how you have cared for and continue to care for my parents. I don’t know what it’s like to deal with your child dying of cancer but I know its got to be worse for the parents than for the kid! I love how you have surrounded them, how you have blessed them, and created an environment where they are being cared for in real and meaningful ways.
I’m grateful for how you’ve cared for me and my family in all of this cancer mess. You’ve cleaned my house, provided meals, paid medical bills, prayed, sent cards, and a dozen other things that belong on a list. Y’all have really showed that you mean it when you say that you’re trying to be like Jesus. I know this ‘cause I’ve been on the receiving end of it.
Thank you for being so weird. Seriously you are one weird group. Remember when we used to sing a song together about Jesus having worms in his hair? Who does that? What church sings that? We were all weirdos together and I hope that hasn’t changed just because I’m not there. (insert joke here)
Thank you for stretching my imagination. When Renovatus started all I could imagine was a worship gathering that was engaging and fun. By the time we had journeyed together for six years not only did that become second nature and assumed but our imaginations had together been stretched to realize that being the church was so much more than a worship gathering—it was a way of life, it was a community of people who were committed to each other, and it was a group of people who were together being transformed into their original purpose and intended beauty.
You all are a special group of people. As Jess and I continue the work of starting the Grassroots Conspiracy here in downtown Vancouver I am giddy to know that we’re not doing this alone. We are who we are because of you and we’re doing what we’re doing because of you and we’re glad to be attached at the hip. We love you and are grateful for who you are, who you’ve been, and who you’re becoming. Peace to your house…err…grange hall.