113-year-old church celebrates Palm Sunday, new building

ODESSA, Tx (KOSA) -- First Christian Church has been a part of the Odessa community since 1906, but Sunday it was re-introduced with a new location and a new name.

“Connection was just an easy name for us because we want to connect the community to Christ,” church member Matt Rist said. “So we think the name of the church better describes what we want to be here.”

Husband and wife Joe and Dawn Weaks are co-pastors of Connection. They moved the church from its downtown location to a spot right across from Music City Mall on Tanglewood Lane.

“Part of our building is called the Connection Center, where we are housing non-profits in our community,” Dawn Weaks said. “We hope to be a blessing to them, and also serve in many other ways from this very visible location.”

Connection aims to get out into the community, but also welcomes anyone through its doors.

“Christ is our common ground,” Rist said. “So regardless of what you look like, your ethnicity, your sexual orientation, you’re welcome here at this church and that’s something that I think is amazing.”

“Our goal is that not a single person in the Permian Basin would live isolated,” Weaks said. “That every single person would be connected in this place.”

On Sundays, Connection has a traditional hymns service at 9 a.m. and a contemporary worship service at 11 a.m. As part of the grand opening celebration, breakfast was served in between.

“To us the heart of Christian worship is being at the table to together,” Weaks said. “It’s just sharing a meal and taking time to be present with each other, and to notice that God is present when we are gathered together around food.”

After a year of change and uncertainty waiting for the new building to open, it is ready just in time for the Easter holiday.

“It is a wonderful coincidence that on Palm Sunday, what we call sort of Jesus’ grand opening, it’s our grand opening,” Weaks said.