An Update from Sanctuary Church SF
Just over eight months ago, Tom and Josie Shaw, leaders at Radiant Church (Visalia, CA), announced that they will be moving to San Francisco to start a church. Having moved to the States from England almost two years ago, they felt God’s call to church plant in San Francisco and are now following his direction into that wonderful city. A lot has happened in the time since their announcement. Here are a few highlights and updates as they prepare to move to San Francisco this summer.
The Shaws have been blessed by a warm welcome from many pastors who are already in the area. Mark McGovern, pastor of Experience Church, is one of about a dozen pastors who have received Tom and Josie with open arms. Recently, he prayed this Scripture over the Shaws that has proven to be a keystone to their faith in this journey:
“You will bring them in and plant them
on the mountain of your inheritance—
the place, Lord, you made for your dwelling,
the sanctuary, Lord, your hands established.”
Just as the Bay has been a natural sanctuary and refuge for sailors on the high seas of turmoil and chaos, so too Sanctuary Church is called to be a refuge for a storm-tossed city of people.
Over the last six months, the Shaws have had regular prayer and scouting weekends in the city. These have been significant times where the Shaws and their team have sought God, prayed, eaten good food, and built relationships. In February, the Shaws visited the city with Bryan Mowrey, who leads Confluence, along with his wife, Rachel. During this visit, the Shaws felt drawn to an area of the city called Bernal Heights, which has lots of parks, coffee shops, and a strong sense of community. The Shaws are looking forward to living in and getting know this area of San Francisco.
At present, the Shaws have a group of 14 adults and 8 children (and a growing number of pets) who have felt the call to plant Sanctuary Church. There is also a wider group of people who feel that Sanctuary Church might be part of their future, but for now, they are committed to supporting, visiting, and standing with the Shaws in prayer.
Two families from that group now live in San Francisco—the Walkers and the Atkins. Having people on the ground has proved helpful when it comes to looking at venues, places to live, and potential job contacts. The Shaws plan to move on July 1st along with some other Visalia folks.
Although Sanctuary Church will be meeting primarily in homes during the early stages of the plant, one of the visa requirements for the Shaws was that the church have a site location. The Shaws know how hard it is to secure affordable venue space in the City, so they prayed. In three days, the families already living in San Francisco were able to find three really good options in Bernal Heights, the area the Shaws feel called to.
Starting in July, Sanctuary Church will be meeting monthly at The Laundry—a wonderful space that is used as a coffee shop and art gallery, among other things, and can seat 100 people. The Shaws also hope to use this space to meet with people and get to know the local community.
Please be praying for the Shaws as they plan to move their family to San Francisco, as well as for the others who are relocating this summer. There are a lot of moving parts in terms of housing, jobs, and schools for kids, so be praying for grace and favor for all those involved.