Have you noticed yourself start to date things from before and after the fire? Such happens when we’ve been through such a major and collective trauma. I also have realized that somewhere in there I lost December. So now we get to pick up and carry on.
Sometime Before the Fire, the Board of Trustees held a Congregational Conversation to hear from folks about how things are going in church. The question we posed was: What ways do we want the church to grow? The point was not to dwell on numerical growth, but to consider all the aspects of growth within the church. Folks responded with all sort of ideas about how we can grow in spiritual depth, in being a congregation of many diversities and generations. There were ideas for worship and religious education and for how we might improve our sanctuary’s aesthetics and acoustics.
Have you noticed, in the mean time, we are growing like gangbusters? Some Sundays we are filling up nearly every seat. We now are singing “We Hold You In Our Love” three times through before all our kids make it through the Bridge of Love. People have been finding their way through our doors. We will welcome 30-35 new members in just four months. Our RE program is close to doubling in size in 6 months.
It could just be that what we offer in a free church with progressive values and an openness to spirit and possibility resonates more profoundly in our times. Perhaps the fires served as a powerful reminder of the importance of community. It becomes clearer how much we need each other and the power we have when we come together.
We are now growing in all the ways we spoke of in November and in numbers of people seeking a spiritual home.
Such growth is simultaneously wonderful and challenging. We have bought more chairs for the sanctuary and more tables for Berg Hall, which will help.
Yet more important is that we keep our hearts and arms open, that we remember the gracious art of hospitality. We offer a profound message of freedom, resistance, hope, possibility, and joy, even as the world swirls around us. We may, each of us, need this community. And we must keep the doors open behind us and offer to others the same sense of home we have found.
So that we may ever say, Welcome home. We’re so glad you’re here.