Rev. Carol Bodeau, Minister email@example.com
Things have been a little exciting at Westside lately, what with all the floor renovations and plumbing repairs. Because I was traveling during part of this process, I wasn’t able to see some of the really dramatic stages of the work in person, but I have spent a fair amount of time reflecting on what it means to take care of our church ‘home.’ This theme became even more prominent for me when, two Sundays ago, Executive Director of Family Promise, Mary Thomson LeMense, spoke during our weekly service. Mary spoke about the importance of many things in providing a ‘home’ space for our Family Promise guests, who spend a week at Westside about 3-4 times out of each year as they are working to get back onto their feet and into their own private homes. During Family Promise times (and our next host week is August 16-23), Westside becomes the ‘home’ to these families.
Speaking about Family Promise, Mary reminded us that it’s not just the food, the shelter, and the beds that make our church (and others that serve the Family Promise guests) a temporary home, but also the welcoming attitude, the kindness, and the generosity with which we meet the families. She reminded us that “home” means much more than a place to stay; it means a place that feels safe, welcoming, and loving. I believe this applies to our own church family, and our congregational home at 616 Fretz Road, as well.
Though our building is a rich and vital part of how we gather together in community, and though the building is technically a ‘church’ building, I would argue that it is not the ‘church’ itself. We are. It’s the people, the gathered community, who really make up what we think of as a ‘church.’ Before the original members of Westside UU Church had a building of their own, they had a community. Whether we meet outside (as we will for our cluster picnic on August 9th), in a storefront (as was the case for some years in Westside’s history), on in a familiar and well-cared for sanctuary, we are still a ‘church’ community.
We take care of our building so that we have an on-going location to take care of one another. Let’s always remember to be grateful for both, the people and the place, and strive to extend to one another the same spirit of hospitality we extend to our Family Promise guests. In so doing, we will make for ourselves a truly lasting, loving church home.