Church Moves To Its First Permanent Location
The leaders of Reality Church had been looking for a permanent facility for the congregation for three years when they learned about the vacant building that had previously held a franchise of a workout company. With a bit of creative thinking, the leaders knew that the 20,000-square-foot space at 2301 Harrisburg Pike, Lancaster, in Golden Meadows Park, would work well for the church. Negotiations began in the summer of 2018, and worship services began taking place regularly in the new building during the first week of December.
"We redid about every surface inside. It was a completely awesome team effort," raved lead pastor Joe Castronova. "Church members helped with the woodworking, decorating, painting, and more. The work's not quite done, but we're ready to open to the community."
To celebrate the new facility and the ministry opportunities that have opened up as a result, Reality Church began a grand opening series on March 3. It will continue through Sunday, March 31. Each week has had a different theme relating to the overall theme of "It's Not That."
"People think certain things about Jesus that aren't true," Castronova explained. "Jesus gets a bad reputation."
On Sunday, March 17, "Stamp of Approval" will address the idea that to come to church, folks need to look, act, or think a certain way. "No matter what we do, (Jesus) still loves us and accepts us," said Joette Peters, director of ministry.
"Jesus is comfortable with me following Him even if I don't believe everything about Him yet," Castronova said. "Reality Church is quite comfortable with people having different backgrounds and perspectives."
A chicken barbecue meal will be held after the 9 and 11 a.m. services on March 17.
Sunday, March 24, is part of the opening weekend of Major League baseball, so the theme at Reality Church will be "Three Strikes and You're Out." Assistant pastor Josh Simmons will deliver the message. Ballpark-style snacks will be served during the services, and a hot dog buffet will be offered after each service.
"We focus so much on the rules, but the focus (should be) on our relationship with God. We can never strike out with God," Castronova said. "On Sundays, we want people to encounter God in a personal way. It's not just information."
"Have A Ball" will conclude the grand opening series on March 31. The meal offered after the services will feature ham balls, meatballs, cheese balls, and other spherical foods. An emphasis will be placed on developing community and building relationships.
"We're a hugely relational church," Simmons remarked. Reflecting on the school building where Reality Church had been meeting, he added, "We're very appreciative of the school, but there was no lobby to meet in."
The new facility has a spacious lobby with several seating areas, a coffee bar, and plenty of room for folks to gather to chat. Youth and worship pastor Calvin Hoffman shared his appreciation for the opportunities to host fellowship meals and for people to connect. "(Now, our meeting space) is not an immediate construction zone following services (with volunteers packing up equipment to vacate the school)," he added.
The gathering space will be used for a fundraiser on Sunday, April 14. A Ghanaian-themed meal will be served after each service, with proceeds supporting a family that will be traveling to Ghana for a mobile medical mission.
After Easter, Reality Church will be examining ways to be more compassionate in the community and will be partnering with HOPE International. Small groups are forming and will study the quality of mercy.
On Sunday mornings, the children's ministry offers programming for youngsters age 6 weeks to fourth grade during both services. Fifth- and sixth-graders meet during the second service. Students in seventh through 12th grades meet at the church from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. every Thursday.