…comings, goings and belonging…

Poet and writer David Whyte says, “there is no greater house than the house of belonging.”

I first met many of you at the parish picnic last year, when our family was introduced to the community a few months before Daphne’s sabbatical began August 1.  It is difficult to fathom that a year has passed. And that year has been filled with comings and goings, hellos and goodbyes.  The Codys were sent off with an appropriate bon voyage celebration.  The Jamesons arrived and were warmly welcomed.  Brendon Hunter accepted a position in New York, opening the door for Rob and several shorter-term people to assist in the office before Pam Green stepped into the position of Administrative Assistant.

On May 12, we will celebrate the ministry Haley Tate has had in our midst as Director of Christian Education for the past five years.  The parish leadership is already thinking through how best to support Christian Education and Formation in the next phase of our common life, and more will be coming on that in the time ahead.  In the winter, we welcomed with joy several new parishioners who decided to share the journey of faith as part of the St. Elisabeth’s community.

Each of those who share the journey for however long or short a time, leave their mark on the community, contributing their strengths toward the whole.  This Sunday, we will celebrate remarkable woman who has shaped and formed this community for over three decades.  Even if you don’t personally know Helen Lauck very well, her love, humor, wisdom and faith permeate the St. Elisabeth’s community.

Helen moved to Glencoe from Seattle in 1979, and her first home was just half a block from St. E’s.  She and her family started worshipping at St. E’s in 1980, met and welcomed warmly Sam Badger and his first wife Anne.  Both Helen’s children were confirmed here, and the church has been an important center in Helen’s life over the years.  She served on the Altar Guild, taught Sunday school, served on the vestry (twice!).  She was active with the Soup Kitchen since its inception (must be at least 15 years now), and she shared in more coffee hours, picnics and progressive dinners than can be counted!  Four years ago, Helen was asked to become junior warden. Although she moved away from Glencoe last July to be near her family in Maryland, Helen remains a committed member of St Elisabeth’s.  She has loved being in a parish that has made a real difference in her life.

We celebrate Helen on May 5 at the Adult Forum when she will also share her story with us. It is an opportunity to thank her for the extraordinary gift of sharing in the journey so faithfully over the years.  Share in story, word and liturgy in the blessing and sending out of our cherished friend and sister in Christ.

Have you noticed that the more you invest in a community, your care, your energy, your creativity, your love, the more you receive in return?  A house of Belonging.  All of us have a basic need to belong, to know and be known.  A place to risk sharing who we are even as we are still on the way, becoming.  But, when we risk knowing and being known, we also open ourselves to the pain of loss, separation, and absence. Paradoxically, it is only when we ourselves take the risk of belonging, being present and available, that we truly experience belonging.  And in the house of belonging, we find ourselves dwelling in the Holy One.

The author of Ephesians puts it this way:

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.  In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.