The University of California, Berkeley (Cal Berkeley) campus ministry started 37 years ago this fall when one man, Tom Snyder, stepped onto campus as the sole member of the campus ministry. His wife, Denise, doubled the ministry when she joined him several months later. After several years of exponential growth, the Cal ministry reached a height 30 years ago when the campus ministry had a membership of over 130 Cal students and had over 100 baptisms that school year.
Now 30 years later, several members of that class decided it was time to organize a “30ish” Year Reunion, a reunion that would include early disciples of the Cal ministry that were on campus during the 1980’s to the early 1990’s. A directory of alumni around the globe was quickly started. Even though the directory is still not complete, there are about 100 members we were able to locate who are still faithful from this ministry “30ish” years later. These include former campus ministers from that 1980’s era such as the Snyders, Tom and Kelly Brown, Doug and Suzanne Baity and John and Barri Lusk. Several alumni have been able to see their kids get baptized and become second generation Cal campus ministry members.
The “30ish” Year Reunion was held August 18thduring the weekend of the Bay Area Christian Church Expo. It was amazing that over 50 disciples were able to gather for the Cal reunion in Santa Clara, California. Disciples from Japan, Hawaii, Georgia, Arizona, San Diego, Los Angeles and Fresno joined those in the Bay Area for both the Expo and the reunion. Many memories were recounted and old friends reconnected as each person was able to share.
Not wanting this to be just a typical reunion of mingling and reminiscing, a short “campus devotional” was led by several alumni to remind us to finish the race and renew the dreams we all set out together to accomplish thirty-ish years ago. Dick Gee, an elder in the Los Angeles Church, called on everyone to keep connections with disciples we know and to keep building relationships across churches. Rob Skinner, lead evangelist of the Tucson Church of Christ, gave a charge from Psalm 92 that even after 30years, our most fruitful years are ahead of us. Takeshi Yamazaki, lead evangelist of the Tokyo Church of Christ, encouraged the group to remember supporting world missions and called us to consider doing mission trips in our next phase in life. Lina Chau, women’s ministry leader in Los Angeles, also shared about her mission experience at several churches in Asia.
We all left re-inspired to make the next thirty-ish years count::
“It (the reunion) really was the highlight of my weekend, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it! To hear all the amazing things God has been doing through us…there aren’t words to describe it. Gratitude perhaps comes closest.” – Gina (Marquinez) Kiyuna/ Bay Area Christian Church
“It was great to see all my fellow Cal alumni, who have spread the gospel throughout the world. It was so encouraging for me to see all of you. I feel so grateful to God for allowing me to be part of a campus ministry that gave me a vision to see God do great things.” – Takeshi Yamazaki/ Tokyo Church of Christ
“I was so happy to be around people I respect and love so much. To see your faithfulness to God over the years lifted my spirits.” – Rob Skinner/ Tucson Church of Christ
“It was highly encouraging that so many of you are faithful all over the world and continuing to build the Kingdom, preach the Word, raise amazing families and shine a light in a dark world. What’s cool is that—afterall these years—it felt like we picked up right where we left off. The bonds we have are powerful and deep like that.” – Rich Hua/Bay Area Christian Church
“It was an amazing faith building time to see so many of you who are continuing to fight the spiritual battle despite all of life’s challenges. I am always encouraged to see those that have and continue to persevere.” – Scott Miyashiro/ Oahu Church of Christ
“The Cal dinner Saturday night was the highlight of Expo for me. It is incredibly encouraging to see so many faithful disciples, and to see the next generation, our children, growing up to continue God’s plans. I re-read this morning the Scripture Rob shared in Psalm 92—While I am excited about the next generation, I am also ready to produce fruit even in old age (and with grey hair).” – Charles Middlekauff/Bay Area Christian Church
“SO GRATEFUL to be able to reconnect with all of you. You guys inspired and called me higher back in the 80s and continue to do so today. As has been said, our best days are yet to come! Let’s keep that same ‘living on the edge’ faith, love, and zeal we had back then till our final Cal reunion in heaven!” – Todd Schultz/ Atlanta, Georgia
We are all looking forward to an even bigger Cal ministry reunion in Orlando in 2020!