Over a year ago , Beacon Hill Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, Texas closed its doors and ended a period of 117 years of ministry (see previous blogs "What Do You Do When The Beacon Goes Out?" and "Beacon Hill Is Bleeding").
During the past year, the Beacon Hill church building was vandalized: two air conditioning units, wiring including copper wiring, and stained glass were all stolen from the church, two pipes on the organ were bent.
The building was finally sold to a Hispanic congregation which has made repairs to the building including the transept wall which was damaged due to mold.
On October 11, 2015, I attended a Beacon Hill Reunion service and event that was held at University Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, TX. Rev. Kelly Allen read Psalm 145.
"One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts."
Rev. Allen described this text as the Spirit of God whooshing through the lives of people and events.
Indeed, this year the Spirit has whooshed through the life of Beacon Hill Presbyterian Church, its members, friends and myself.
Reunions are about taking a look back at history and events that have occurred with people, celebrating what is happening now with a family or a group and then looking forward in anticipation regarding what new experiences may transpire.
The cultural religious holidays of Dia de los Muertos (Day Of The Dead) and Totenfest (Festival of the Dead) commemorate those who have died and yet we also celebrate their lives among us.
As the writer of the book of Revelation would say, "Behold, I make all things new" (Rev. 21: 5).
I reflected upon what this reunion meant for me. A year ago, I was officiating the closure of the church as a guest minister. I was feeling sad and powerless regarding the closure of Beacon Hill. Ministers are motivated to help churches grow and flourish, not to close them. I was hoping that the church could remain open; but since that was not viable, I wanted to help and assist the members in their transition to new communities of faith and celebrate their journey together as a congregation. This was no small feat.
Rev. Allen reminded us that congregations begin, evolve and at some point, and in some cases, they close their doors and end their ministries; yet, the Spirit of God continues to move through people and work through the lives of other congregations.
This reunion was bittersweet, a mixture of yin and yang. It was wonderful for me to see my friends from Beacon Hill and to hear what has been happening in their lives, including their faith pilgrimage, this year. I reflected again regarding the tragic looting of the building following the church's closure. I thought about what would have happened had they merged with another congregation. Would they have been able to be sustainable? Would they have been able to continue the powerful proactive ministry that they extended to the Woodlawn community and beyond all of these years?
We may never know. Then again, maybe some new Chrysalis may emerge.
May the reunions we experience in life help us to look back in appreciation and help us to look forward in expectation for what God can reveal in our lives now and always.
May it be so.