There's A New Old Church In Town [Video/Photos]

The two houses of worship celebrate their respective histories as they combine resources and parishioners in one of Rancho Santa Margarita's most visible buildings.

Interview with Pastor Ryan Oddo after the celebration combining The Bridge and Mission Hills Community Church. Video/Photos: Martin Henderson
Interview with Pastor Ryan Oddo after the celebration combining The Bridge and Mission Hills Community Church. Video/Photos: Martin Henderson

By Martin Henderson

It began with a nearly one-mile walk from one building to the other, a journey Pastor Ryan Oddo called "the praise walk." For him, it was the most moving part of the Saturday celebration between The Bridge and Mission Hills Community Church. 

On the 10th anniversary of The Bridge opening its doors as a church in Rancho Santa Margarita, the two churches combined to become one. The Mission Hills Community Church facility will now take the name The Bridge and serve as the main campus. The other facility, located on Tomas where The Bridge previously held its events, will function as an administration and youth building and site of special events. 

The two venues are 8/10ths of a mile from each other.

Following the resignation of Mission Hills pastor Mike Beals to become president of Vanguard University, the two churches—which have combined in the past for Easter in the Park services—began thinking about a marriage. Oddo, who began The Bridge when it operated out of Tijeras Creek Elementary School, will be the senior pastor. Beals had a front-row seat to Saturday festivities.

The Bridge moves into the most visible building one sees from the Santa Margarita Parkway Bridge when entering RSM. It's located at 29582 Aventura.

Average weekly attendance at the Bridge was 350 and at Mission Hills 450, Oddo said.

Mission Hills Christian School will continue to operate using the same name. The church and school "will be independently responsible but mutually connected," Oddo said after the coming together celebration that spanned more than two hours and celebrated the history of both churches. 

Mission Hills, founded in 1978, opened in RSM on March 31, 1991. Sunday services will be at 9 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.   
Lawrence (Larry) McCook January 05, 2014 at 12:27 PM
Thanks to The Bridge Church on Tomas, The Bell Tower Foundation, Chris OConner and to Jack Leonard for The Food Pantry.. The Food Pantry distributes food every Third Thursday afternoon to needy families. If you could have only seen the line of people standing in the rain for two hours before Christmas for food. You would realize the how the bad economy has effected so many families. Kudos to The Bridge, The Bell Tower Foundation, Chris OConner and a special thanks to Jack Leonard who sets up the tent canopies each month.
Edith Murcer January 05, 2014 at 02:26 PM
This terrible Obama economy has crushed working families ,
Brad McGirr January 05, 2014 at 08:52 PM
It was such an honor to have attended this celebration of two great churches uniting as one. Many thanks to Pastor Ryan and all the members of this church for their warm welcome. Julie and I look forward to attending services soon!
Charlie Brown's Instructor January 14, 2014 at 09:56 AM
Leave it to a phony picnic table Christian like Edith to take a great blog post about about a new Church opening and turn it into politics about Obama. Shows where her priorities are regarding her phony Christian faith, and it certainly isn't Jesus.


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