A weblog by Will Fitzgerald

Glory to rival the sun

This past weekend, Bess, Jane and I attended the 50th anniversary of the founding of Reba Place Church, the church we attended in the 90’s when I was in graduate school and for a few years afterwards. Saturday was spent going though a decade by decade retrospective. Reba began as, essentially, a commune in the 50’s and experienced explosive growth through the 60s and 70s. They allowed non-communal members in the 80s and there were many aftershocks of many of the communal members becoming everyday variety congregational members. The 90s, our decade, were full of angst for Reba, as it struggled to let new leaders emerge, dealt with–or didn’t deal with–its own racism and desire to be an anti-racist church, radically different views on many things, especially the role of women in leadership and the role of the Spirit in the church’s direction. Various betrayals of trust and adulteries didn’t help. The past decade, with (I think) able leadership of pastor Ric Hudgens, the gospel choir led by Helen Hudgens, and a cadre of leaders and members who stuck it out when many left, has been much better, in both the congregational and communal parts of the church.

The current and former members of Reba, to their credit, were able to name the good and the bad throughout these decades, and joyously celebrated the music and liturgical dance for which it has become justly known. We were hosted by the always gracious Shelly family, and it was wonderful to see so many old friends (and a few bête noires), although, really, I’d rather spend a day with one friend than see 100 friends and not get a chance to talk with each one more than a few minutes. (I’m confident enough in heaven that I know there will be plenty of time to catch up).

Jim Croegaert‘s song Changes captures it all well:

Changes coming upon us
It keeps moving, moving around us
Got to keep dancing knowing God loves us
Got to keep joy in our hearts
God knows all of our needs and
God will meet them following God’s plan
Even the changes turning in God’s hand
Soon will be part of it all
So we enter a new time
There are places where it’s a hard climb
But there are faces carrying sunshine
Warming our path as we go
Sometimes we may be lonely
It’s a hard job making us holy
But in the long run there will be glory
Glory to rival the sun.


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