Growing up in the Church...
In late June, we'll be taking our Faithworks students to Cherryfield, ME to serve with Maine Seacoast Mission working on small home repair projects for residents who could use a little help. Long a tradition of this church, these trips not only give our children and their adult mentors the chance to feel what it's like to put faith into action by serving, the experience also gives them a chance understand how their faith informs their relationships with people, including their peers, their mentors, those they serve and God.
Three sets of siblings will be going on the mission trip this year! The Cass, Mulholland and Stoops families have known each other for almost twenty years. Their children have grown up together in our church. These days that is unique. Not only do more people move about the country and the world in search of work these days, there are also far fewer families who are willing to do what it takes to live in community with their neighbors, facing all the challenges that involves, not least of which is accepting that there will always be folks with whom we disagree, but with whom we are called as Christians to stand beside and love.
If our children learn only to accept this one truth, that we are called to love and care for everyone, no matter who they are or where they are on life's journey, we will all be better for it.
I hope that those of you with younger children: Aitchison, Davie, DiNardo, Frere, Itz, Grajal, Kane, Krause, Long, McIlvaine, Mattson, Miller, Mitchell, Natale, Nenart, Read, Redding, Renda, Roach, Rogers, Spater, Spaulding, Tatum, Townes...will see in the faces of our older students the understanding that, through a simple comfort and familiarity, and in some cases, deep connection and love, that truth has been planted in Andrew, Casie, Henry, Maddie, Ryan and Wesley and all the other Faithworks students.
Though they may not be aware of it, they will know for years to come what it feels like to be a part of a community that supports each other through difficulties like transitions in pastoral leadership, the deaths of active, vibrant church members and friends, a tough election cycle, family changes and crises, hundreds of Fairbooth shifts, endless board meetings, potlucks of all types, several iterations of small groups, thousands of dollars of money raised/given away and hundreds of hours of service to others... to name only some of all that we do together.
I want us to celebrate what we have, not worry about what will or will not be in our future. I want us to have the foresight to realize that what we are building by simply showing up, being together and serving together, even when we are all over the map when it comes to our personal choices, opinions or thouhts, is something worth holding on to...tightly!
Some little fish (no doubt one of your kids will set me straight on its name!) said "just keep swimming!" Three little words...one big message. So hang on folks, we're on a long ride. Sports seasons come and go, social situations ebb and flow, marriages flourish and face challenges, our bodies grow and age, jobs bring both fulfillment and boredom, but we always have each other. I've listed almost 30 families here who rely in some way on the strength of our community for faith, love, hope, celebration, inspiration, help, questions, peace, kindness and more. We are so important to each other! Even if we occasionally drive each other crazy. Ahhhh...family.
Be well, my loves, and know that we are all children of a gracious and loving God and we are so blessed to be together here.