Our flight into Philly landed about 3 in the afternoon -Friday. After obtaining a rental car, we were off to the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia. We started out about 3.30 p.m and reached our destination through many neighborhoods, roads -twists and turns via Lyn’s telephone GPS. Why the GPS didn’t lead us through the main thoroughfares, no one knows. It led us off the highway and into the abyss that are the streets of Philly. Tourists with no idea where we were going. A true adventure , if I ever saw one. Frustration mounted as the GPS led us from one turn to another. Something was said, someone cried. Everyone tired.
Eventually, we got to the Best Western where Lyn and Tom checked in and then by 6 o’clock to the Seminary for the conference on serving an unhoused and housed communities. Some people may call the population we serve homeless. They may be without houses, but they always have a home within the church and with God.
The first night of the “come and see” was a time of getting to know the others, finding out where in the United States they were from and what their ministry entailed and dinner. Oh my. Dinner. Real Philly Cheesesteaks, Real Philly pizza, Real Philly pretzels. I was in heaven and had not even died yet! A glass of wine to top it off and I was set to go. It was a wonderful evening, but I was exhausted. Knowing how difficult it is for me to be civil while exhausted, I went to my room and got ready for bed- hung out -being mostly quiet- well, except for calling my husband and daughter.
It was a very quiet night for me – no howling coyotes, no howling, barking dogs , braying donkeys-the music of my soul-nothing but quiet. I had to get out of bed , turn on the music and begin walking in place and then around the room for a few minutes. I read my facebook and email and finally fell asleep.
Saturday morning, we had interesting and challenging sessions with topics such as focusing on criminal justice, social enterprise, trauma and the subject of racism, homophobia and sexism in our congregations. A key to being able to serve your congregation in a way that benefits them best is to know them. Know who they are, what they have been through and then you can sort out how best to help them.
It’s Sunday now and today, we will go to the parkway in Philadelphia at 3 and worship with the people of the Welcome Church. I know it will be a great experience and I can’t wait. I have found a passion in this ministry such as I have never had before for or in church. I guess I have just found my niche.