The story so far…
Reunion Hamilton started in January 2017 with a simple invitation to come and pray. My wife and I asked our friends and family, and everyone in between, to join us in prayer and conversation about starting a new church community in Hamilton. What was Church supposed to be? What would it look like to do church in a way that we all could be honest about where we’re at and ask Jesus to show up in the reality of our everyday lives? What would Reunion Hamilton look like?
We didn’t have the answers to a lot of questions, but that first night we knew that we would serve food, sing some hymns, pray for each other, and just talk about church. At the very least, we knew that much. And that is exactly what we did. To our surprise, people showed up! Friends and family, and some we didn’t yet know, came and prayed with us and for us about this thing God was calling us to do.
In our little apartment in the centre of Hamilton, we gathered for several months, dreaming and praying and beginning to see where God might be leading us. It was an amazing time of getting to know each other, finding ourselves swept up in the excitement of starting something new, and reimagining what a community of faith could look like.
Eventually we started to sense that God was asking us to plant our church in the East end of Hamilton’s lower city, so my wife and I bought a house, which came about only by God’s insane provision, and we began to gather weekly on Sundays there in the living room.
The time we spent together in the living room was deeply formative. We became one big family. Quite literally. There were kids running around everywhere and it was absolute chaos, but in a good way…mostly. We would get together in the morning, sing songs, pray, celebrate communion, share our stories with one another, read and wrestle with Scripture, and we would always end with lunch. Reunion became a place to work through real issues of faith and doubt together – to celebrate together and to mourn together. We found ourselves deeply committed to one another, and deeply committed to figuring out what it looked like to follow in the way of Jesus together. We learned to share our lives with each other beyond just Sunday mornings, opening up our homes and making time to be together and to invite others in. The practice of sharing meals at the table became central to our time together and to how we sought to live out our faith.
Very quickly it became apparent that we needed a bigger space because the kids were overflowing out of the basement where they went for Sunday school while we met upstairs. After an eight-month search, we finally felt God lead us to a banquet hall around the corner from our house. We could still be rooted in the neighbourhood we felt called to plant in, and would have enough space to grow. In September of 2018 we started gathering on Sundays in that banquet hall in Hamilton’s east end. Since then we have spent our time working to figure out how to serve the neighbourhood best, joining fundraising initiatives, clothing drives, and toy drives for local organizations. Our aim is to keep things simple as we gather and experience Jesus in our times together in order to be filled as we learn to practice the presence of Christ in our everyday lives in the neighbourhood. Now we are praying that, just as we are welcome at Jesus’ table, we would invite others to the table we share.
— Eric and Laura Fusilier are Church Planters at REUNION Hamilton, ON.
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