“You’re packing a suitcase for a place none of us have been
A place that has to be believed to be seen”
-U2- Walk On
An oracle to which I frequently turn to answer life’s big questions are the lyrics of Bono, lead singer for the band U2. In our Parish Survey on Regathering and the discussion that followed last Sunday’s worship service, more than a hundred of you discerned the core question that is in our parish family’s hearts and minds: “What do we want St. John’s to be as we re-emerge on the other side of this historic pandemic?” In that meeting, and so many others that I have attended this year, those U2 lyrics that we are “packing a suitcase for a place that none of us have been” played loudly in my head because we were both “packing” (preparing/planning/strategizing) and acting on faith because none of us have ever “seen” (re-imagined) a faith community through a pandemic. I believe that St. John’s has spent this past year packing the essentials and packing well to go “to a place that none of us have been,” church in a post COVID 19 world.
Our core values as a Christian community have been clarified by our actions over the last year. April 20th marks the one year anniversary of when we started serving meals to our neighbors at Hope House. Your support of this ministry has allowed us to feed over 8,000 hot meals, distribute thousands of pounds of produce and shelf stable grocery items and countless other necessities such as diapers, blankets, gift cards, and PPE to our neighbors. The intangibles of this program can not be measured. The hundreds of families who have felt God’s love through conversation, prayer, and connection as they drive through for food each week has been transformative. The relationships that have grown between our volunteers who come from very diverse backgrounds have been restorative as we wrestled together with the current events each week that magnified systemic racism in our healthcare system, economy and criminal justice system. The stories we have learned, the needs we have seen and the relationships we have forged in the Wake Forest Community Meals ministry are securely “packed” in our suitcase as we prepare for regathering and re-imaging life at St. John’s- and this gives me so much hope about where we are going. This past year, St. John’s has been a faith community that loves its neighbors, feeds the hungry, gives generously, listens, learns and prays, and this history will be the fertile ground from which we will grow.
Please share with us on Facebook or in an email the things that have meant the most to you about St. John’s over the past year and what you hope we will pack in our suitcase as we prepare to go to a place that none of us have been!