On Monday, I stayed later than usual. We have some things happening at the church which require extra attention, so I am trying to keep up. At some point in the evening, I heard voices in the Narthex. Sure enough, a few folks who had been practicing for open-mic night were talking and hanging out—the boy scouts had come for their meeting, so the crew moved out into the Nave to practice and the listeners were chatting idly in the next room. So, I went and checked in on the scouts; what a good group of young people and parents. Tommy, the scout leader, was diligently working on some sort of craft and the boys and parents were doing the same. It was a noisy room, filled with excitement and life. I loved it.
While in the Parish Hall, I noticed quite a few vehicles in the back parking lot—you can see it through the window. I walked out there to see what was going on. One of our four teams was winding down baseball practice; parents were hanging out under the pavilion, standing in the parking lot chatting. The coaches were hitting a last round of grounders to the players, who would field them and then run in to collect their gear. I walked over and talked to the boys for a second—something I like to do with the teams when I have the chance—and thanked them for being here. I spoke with the parents for a second, too, who remarked on how wonderful our garden area looked. Then, I hopped in my truck and started to pull out of the parking lot.
Three groups of people on a Monday night. Three communities tied together by a common place, a home base if you will, just doing ‘life’. The overwhelming joy of Monday night’s activity washed over me, bringing me almost to tears. We’re beginning to be a hub for our local community—people come here to meet, to play, to practice. How beautiful is that? This is what church should be. Not just a destination on Sunday, but a living edifice, housing all walks of life and providing a safe place to do various things.
I wanted to share that feeling with you, via writing. Your continued dedication to this space has created and encouraged a feeling of desire to be here for quite a few others in our local area. Your church is starting to be a place where everyone is welcome (and it always has been that) AND where people are beginning to take advantage of that hospitality.
We’re starting up for the fall again, and I am grateful that I don’t have to remind folks to ‘come back’. Because, just a few days ago, I realized that no one really ever left. Well done, ECOTR. I hope this message of hope and joy takes you through the rest of the week and on into Sunday. I’ll see you then, friends. May God continue to bless you, love you, and see you safely through all things.