Reality Santa Barbara moves to downtown location

Abigail Dees, Staff Writer

Reality Church of Santa Barbara opened in 2012 and has met in four different locations in the Santa Barbara area since. Most recently, the church met at Santa Barbara High School until COVID-19 forced the congregation to switch to a virtual platform. When it became suitable to meet in person again, the church made the move to an outdoor tent in Goleta.

Now, Reality has its own space on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara. This is the church’s most permanent location so far, and it is right in the heart of the city.

Gabrielle Hughes, the Formation Director for Reality, said that she is excited about the new opportunities the downtown location offers, specifically in terms of ministry and outreach. “There are a lot of people without homes in this area. We want to be really welcoming to people,” she said. “We have people that we give masks to and welcome in. We also partner with transition homes in this area.”

The new building is located at 410 State Street, and services are currently held at 9:30 a.m. The central location allows the church to minister to a larger body of people, both during services and throughout the week. Hughes stated, “We have so many people walking by and stopping.”

Currently, the church is still gathering outside in the building’s parking lot. Attendees are asked to wear a mask and practice social distancing while at services, as well as bring their own chairs to services, for now.  The church is currently renovating the interior of the building and, when regulations permit, will move their worship services inside.

The church is also hopeful about having a more permanent establishment. Hughes stressed, “Our heart is to bring some more stability [to the church] because things have been in such upheaval this past year that people are really longing for that rhythm and security.” The church leadership is confident that the stability of this new location will benefit both the staff and the congregation. 

Hughes shed light on how the new location will help the church achieve its mission. “Our hopes are a greater sense of rootedness and connectedness with a greater emphasis on people. Being downtown really lends itself to that.”

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