August – From the Minister

Where is the center, then?

Is it the place where soul puts up its feet, closes its eyes,

and knows no harm will come?

If so, when such a place is found,

soul sits down,

is home.


I love these lines from WBUUC member Ann Bushnell. On the threshold of late summer and the bustling fall, I think of us returning to our souls’ own home on Maple Street. I think of your faces, those I’ve long loved and others I will greet soon for the first time. I think of the guests we will welcome in September, families with no home to call their own, who will find shelter in our classrooms through Project Home and the generous gifts of your time and love. And this summer, with a heavy heart, I think of other families, too: the children of Palestine, with nowhere to go, even in their own invaded land; the children on our border, tens of thousands, desperate for safety and refuge; and a young boy in Missouri, full of hope and promise and stepping off to college like so many of our own beloved kids, gunned down in the street. Michael Brown lived right where we all live, in the sweltering, unfinished story of America and race. Where is the center then? Every person on this earth longs for the home of the soul.

Our sanctuary here is a shelter for us when we’re grieving or lonely, weary and worn; it restores our souls with music and laughter, shared meals, shared work, shared struggle and prayers. This house holds memories, confessions, dreams, and the fragile, resilient faith we’re teaching to our children. This house holds our beloved dead, our lovely babies, our marriage vows. It is the place from which, when Sunday’s over, we greet the Monday world where we try to truly practice our religion.

This beautiful house is nothing but a building, made holy by your presence. May you find here safe harbor for your spirit, and steady, glad companions for your journey. A sanctuary is not a bunker, but a point of departure, and how we enter here is less important than how we leave each week, crossing the threshold, back to the all the places where we may have a hand in making peace and shaping justice, sharing love and shining hope.

Welcome. Welcome back, and welcome home.