There is a new and growing community, lead by Pastor Ryan Chaddick, gathering in the Santa Clarita Valley. When we gather, things happen. Things and people, Bloom. This past year, one person in particular who Bloomed is Kathi.
Kathi Giddens experienced tremendous change in 2015 — arthroscopic knee surgery, months recuperating and retirement.Experiencing such change is not easy for anyone, let alone a seventy-plus year old whose closest family members are hundreds of miles away — a son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter in Colorado, and a daughter in San Francisco.
“I’m all alone out here in southern California,” Kathi said. Without Bloom, she says she does not know how she could have thrived — let alone survived —such a year. “Bloom is my family here,” Kathi said. “I don’t know what I would’ve done this year without Bloom.”
And it was Bloom being her local family that helped enable and empower the feisty Kathi to undergo successful knee surgery last winter. “It’s touching to think that after my surgery, so many people came to visit, offering support and love. It gets lonely in those hospital rooms. The company was amazing.”
Hilary Skoch, a member of Bloom, went to visit Kathi the day after surgery and continued visiting thereafter, because ensuring that Kathi felt loved and connected was vital.
“I wanted to make sure she knew she was loved and supported by her church family,” Hilary said. Kathi also deeply appreciated weekly pastoral visits. “When I was in the rehab center, Pastor Ryan came every week just to check in, chat, keep me in the loop and pray,” Kathi said. “That meant a lot.”
Knowing that Bloom was praying for her during worship gatherings and Bible studies also gave her strength. “Prayers make a real difference. It allows you tobe full of hope,” she said. “I know people’s prayers really helped me during rehab. I know that’s why I’m healing.”
After her stint in rehab, when it was time to finish healing at home, the church community worked together to provide meals. “It was so much fun being able to make Kathi dinner and meals and visit with her,” Bloom member Linda Bakkom said.
By springtime, Kathi was back at work as a local junior high school counselor. Back in time to finish the school year and then retire.
At her retirement party, Pastor Ryan and his wife Melissa were there to join the celebration of such meaningful work. And during the summer, Bloom held a special retirement party for Kathi after a Worship Gathering. Kathi is now more busy than ever before. She devotes much of her time hosting an after school intervention program for junior high school boys, and teaching younger people in the congregation how to knit, crotchet and create quilts. She also makes blankets for prematurely born babies.
If that was not enough, because of her love for Bloom, she serves as the congregation’s Vice Chairperson and Financial Director. “This is a really special place. Everyone is accepted. That’s huge and that’s unique in Santa Clarita. This church means everything to me. The Bible studies really help you connect. The worship is wonderful. The sermons are meaningful. They connect to life.”
In other words, Bloom helps people bloom.
This year, Bloom seeks to:
Create spaces for people like Kathi to experience God’s love and Bloom — live authentically -and love unconditionally.
Continue to create a weekly Worship Gathering that pushes beyond the dichotomy of“ -traditional” versus “ contemporary” —sacred, worshipful, ancient and progressive “ third way” service.
Reach out and provide even more resources and spaces for millennials and Gen-X’ers, -socially conscious individuals, and (un)traditional families to find a welcoming church and spiritual home.
Host two healing gatherings for the larger community: a Forgiveness and Reconciliation Service during the Easter season and the Longest Night — a holiday gathering to grieve and heal.
Host a “Magic, Music and Pie” FUNdraiser to help raise awareness and funds for the Domestic Violence Center in SCV.
Host a “ Wine Into Water” charity fundraiser to help provide access to clean water for the nearly billion in our world without.
Support Pastor Ryan’s efforts working with the Domestic Violence Center in local schools teaching students about healthy and unhealthy relationships.
Facilitate Growth Groups: a weekly Bible study and a support group for those searching for a sense of self.