You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day— a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.
– Ephesians 2:19 MSG
God wants us to feel at home with him and with each other. However, with all the darkness and hopelessness in the world, this can feel easier said than done.
New York Times columnist Thomas Edsall captured the challenge of our present times in an essay in January of this year:
Polarization has become a force that feeds on itself, gaining strength from the hostility it generates, finding sustenance on both the left and the right.
– Thomas Edsall, “America Has Split, and It’s Now in ‘Very Dangerous Territory’”, NY Times.
In contrast to the divisiveness and hostility in our world that Mr. Edsall accurately describes, we believe God has a simple message for each of us to know and share. That message is simply, “You belong here.”
God worked through the apostles and prophets to build a foundation, and he is now continuing to build on it through each of us so that more and more people can be included and have a place to belong.
We are excited to highlight several of the different opportunities we have this autumn to build places that our friends, our family, and the community around us can feel at home.
E-Life Launches E-Football
Just as there are many parts to our bodies, so it is with Christ’s body. We are all parts of it, and it takes every one of us to make it complete, for we each have different work to do. So we belong to each other, and each needs all the others.
– Romans 12:4 TLB
Our church loves to support E-Life, a fully-inclusive organization for people with and without special needs. This year, we have seen E-Life expand into 16 different programs running across the Bay Area with 400-500 kids participating weekly. These programs include sports like soccer and basketball as well as other activities like gardening and photography. Every program practices inclusion, so those with special needs get to participate right alongside their neurotypical peers.
As a church, we love this program because we feel it embodies the spirit of Romans 12:4. fostering an environment where everyone is included and everyone is extraordinary. Each participant’s unique strengths help others in the program, creating a place where each person contributes to the social, physical, and emotional growth of everyone else. With every expansion of the program, we get excited to see the spirit of inclusion reach more people and spread into new parts of the community.
We are especially excited about the launch of E-Football in Sunnyvale this weekend. Vondell Pilcher, a senior at San Jose State University and a former quarterback for Chabot College, has been helping to spearhead the launch of the program. It has long been his dream to use his talents and experience in football to champion the cause of inclusion and to give everyone a chance to play the sport he loves. Last Saturday, his dream started to become a reality with the first coaches training session, and this Saturday the program will be launched for kids to participate!
Make sure to visit e-life.org for more information on how to get involved in E-Life’s incredible programs.
Fall Fun and Friendship for Everyone
Just as autumn brings pumpkin spice, pumpkin patches, and Halloween fun for us in the BACC, it is also a time we can give our friends, neighbors, and family somewhere to belong. Through connecting and having fun together, we are looking forward to creating a lot of opportunities for people around us to feel the warmth of friendship this fall.
First up, our single professionals both on the East Bay and West Bay are hosting Fall Fun Nights on October 22nd. Whether your idea for fall fun is a corn maze, hay ride, or sitting with friends talking over apple cider, you won’t want to miss these great events.
Our West Bay middle schoolers and teenagers are looking forward to their “Ghost Town” Halloween parties. Each party will be filled with costume contests, dancing, great food and music. To make sure everyone has a chance to have a good time and connect with friends, each party will have sensory-friendly areas with activities and games.
Last year’s Halloween party was particularly memorable; it was not only a fun night, but also a time where two teens made the life-changing decision to get baptized. Dylara Bala Retana was baptized at the party and Dakota Doss was baptized two days later at church!
The East Bay middle schoolers and teenagers are also excited to get their Halloween party on, ready for great food, music, costume contests, and more. Check out the invites to each event for more information!
Last but certainly not least, our annual Trunk-or-Treat is returning! Each of our Sunday services will host a trunk-or-treat for kids of all ages. It is a chance to decorate our trunks and give out lots of candy (including gluten- and dairy-free options … no one gets left out of the fun around here).
At our Sunnyvale Common Ground building last year, the event made such an impact that KRON 4 News ran a story about how important and inspiring these kinds of inclusive community events are for everyone.
We are looking forward to a great autumn celebrating together with all of our friends and building more relationships throughout our communities.
Until next time,
Scott and Margo Colvin