the epic story

In November of 1996, Bruce Kane married Rhonda Gray. Bruce was a brand new lead pastor at an established church in San Bernardino , CA . The couple had dated for 4 years, during which time Bruce was serving in the San Bernardino church and Rhonda was serving as part of the worship team at a Calvary Chapel planted church in La Mirada , CA .

In February of 2002, the Kanes with their 2-year-old son Merritt (and Rhonda expecting a second child) completed their service at the church in San Bernardino and began to seek God's plan for their continuing ministry. During this search, the couple began to consider the idea of planting a new church. At the time, Bruce was fearful of the financial strain this would present for his burgeoning family and Rhonda was excited about the possibility. Rhonda had a sense that this is what God eventually wanted for them. In July of 2002 the Kanes accepted a ministry opportunity at Life Center in Lakewood , CA - sensing that God was leading them to Lakewood with very specific plans.

After serving in Lakewood for 1 year, the Kanes attended a ministry conference in Anaheim , CA where the subject of planting new churches was a major topic. In one service a ministry leader shared about the church planting movement. He shared that planted churches are more than 3 times as successful at impacting completely unchurched Americans than churches with longer historical presence in any given city. He also stated that God seemed to be using young ministers, returning to their hometowns to accomplish the most effective new church ministries. Then at the end of that service, a list of churches looking for partners in church planting was displayed on a screen. The church in which Bruce grew up was listed on the screen. God was awakening Bruce and Rhonda together and leading them into a season of seriously searching out the opportunity to plant a church in Hanford . It was that night that epic was born.

After months of fasting and prayer, research, training, and gathering insight from Christian peers and leaders, the process of bringing epic to life began. God's leading was confirmed and now, step 1 was to elicit the help of 100 people who would commit to pray for epic.  Just as critical as step one, building a meaningful partnership with Glad Tidings Church would become a hallmark of God's confirmation.  Glad Tidings Church and epic continue to work closely to bring this meaningful ministry to Hanford .

Next, the Kanes prepared to move to Hanford . During this time, Bruce's brother (Brad) and his family committed to join in the church planting prospect and some friends (Darin and Brandi Parson) from Lakewood asked the Kanes about the possibility of rebooting their life in a smaller town. The Parsons would visit Hanford and decide to move their family to the charming and relaxed community. They also committed to join the epic team.

In July of 2005, the Kanes moved to Hanford .  The Parsons had preceded them by about 1 month.  Upon their arrival, the first meeting of the epic team was scheduled.  Our fist meeting had 6 adults and 6 children present.  A quick bond amongst team members grew.  The epic vision continued to develop and our new church had begun.

Kindness ministry became an instant part of epic's DNA.  The epic team embarked up their first act of community kindness in August of 2005 when they provided 171 backpacks to the Hanford Elementary School District for the most needy children of our community.  (See gallery and archived news articles.)  During September, epic was able to provide some necessary support to a family forced by Hurricane Katrina to relocate to Hanford .  The effort to provide Hanford with free gas was a much more difficult undertaking, requiring a great deal of convincing for the local station operators.  Eventually the Valero station on the corner of 11th Avenue and Grangeville welcomed the event with open arms and on November 5th, 2005 epic hosted its first gas give-away.  On that day $1000.00 of gas was given away to any who would receive it, just to prove that God cares for everyone.  For Christmas, 5 families received food and gifts from epic.  On Valentine's Day Hanford's romantics receive flowers with cards that mentioned God's love on the day of love.  A second gas give-away took place on March 11th.  This time $2000.00 worth of gas was given away and the event took place at 2 locations. 

On October 16, 2005, the epic team grew.  Glad Tidings provided the opportunity for its congregation members to join the team.  11 new members joined the team on that day.  Other friends and acquaintances from Glad Tidings expressed interest in joining the team and the team continued to grow.  By Christmas of 2006 the launch team had grown to 31 people who were committed to participate in making epic a reality for Hanford .  It was decided that the date of March 26, 2006 should be set as our official launch date.

While the launch team divided into specialized ministry teams, a lease relationship with Pioneer Middle School was established.  Amazingly, epic qualified for the lease and was approved for use of the facility.  epic will use the gymnasium, cafeteria and two unused classrooms.  To our surprise, and creating a savings of $10,000.00+ for epic, the school agreed to allow epic to store all of its chairs in these classrooms during the week.

A trailer filled with all the necessary equipment to maintain a mobile church was ordered from Portable Church Industries.  The budget for that order and the additional equipment required exceeded what the launch team had pledged and could raise.  Prior to this order, Life Center Assembly of God in Lakewood, CA, gave an amazing $60,000.00+ to the epic mission.  This money was raised in a single offering from Life Center called their Miracle Sunday offering.  (Annually the members of this worship community give 90% of their income to God for one week - a reverse tithe.  This offering is then designated to some world-reaching ministry.)Then God stepped in.  2 unsolicited donations (just as the Lakewood offering was unsolicited - wow!) came in, in the amounts of $15,000.00 from an individual, and $20,000.00 from a Grace Assembly of God Church in Bakersfield .  God had blessed both and from their financial blessing they had decided to invest in the ministry of epic.  The total launch budget was met in time to place every order.

On March 6, 2006 the epic launch team grew again.  Another couple committed to the ministry of epic.  They brought a vision to provide food to needy families, and their vision brings a deeper level of service to the Kindness Conspiracy of epic.

Throughout the month of March, Hanford saw epic's banner fly around the city, mounted to a trailer.  The banner promised all who would glance it's way that "epic is coming to Hanford."  On March 14th, the entire town of Hanford recieved a postcard with the same promise on the front and all of the information about our vision and our first worship gathering on the back.  And coincidentally, tv ads provided additional invitations to epic's initial gathering.  This was all only in support of the nearly 300 personal invitations given by the epic team.

On March 25, 2006 the launch team practiced setting up and packing up our mobile church.  On March 26th, our first worship gathering was held.  Our community was invited by mail, TV and trailer.  The epic prayer team showed up for the event.  Friends and family members-o-plenty were on hand.  And Hanford showed up TOO! 
Since that first gathering a unique worship community has formed under the name epic.  We are the church in the community and we gather to worship at Pioneer Middle School on the weekend.  Our commitment to ministries of compassion continue.  Our expression of corporate worship grows in vitality and variety of expression.  Personal spiritual development is expanding in our Life Groups (5) .