Finding Home is an intriguing concept for a stewardship campaign. The theme invites us to think of Home as a place to go to. A place where, as Robert Frost noted, they have to take you in when you go there. Excuse me, if I want to play with that idea for a minute. It might imply we are lost, confused, adrift. I look out at the Westminster Congregation and I don’t see a group of confused people drifting along. I see a group of smart, nicely dressed people who appear to have come here from their home to find and participate in a spiritual home, driving a fuel conserving car, maybe walking or biking. We are an orderly people. We leave our homes, get in our cars, drive to our parking lot, walk into church, are greeted by welcoming folks who hug us and give us a program so we know what we’re doing. We come to our spiritual home after a week of work, nurturing family, volunteering for refreshing, challenging, and comforting.
Think a minute if any of that routine were interrupted by a disconnect of some sort— the toast burned, chicken didn’t lay the eggs, you couldn’t afford your groceries, you made a daily choice between your medication or your food, a tree fell across the driveway, reading was so difficult you couldn’t fill out the job form, there was no gas in the car, the dog ate your homework, the parking lot was full, you were afraid of being deported. This is a scenario for many of our neighbors. Neighbors we may not be aware of. Neighbors we might not feel “at home” with.
As practicing Christians, we are called to respond with love and generosity. I like the use of the word “practicing” here as it implies a continual dedication to “practice” and suggests we’re never perfect, but always in transition, trying.
As a group, practitioners at Westminster are called to respond. We do that individually and communally. We “come home” and reach out, sharing our bounty. We do this through our Benevolence Committee (of course we have a committee, we’re Presbyterians) which is ably led by Kobby Hoffman, who in my life is one of those “conscience pricklers”, bringing to light what we can do, stretching our commitments, sharing our bounty, pushing the envelope.
Westminster is asked to help groups who protect immigrants, have reading and language problems, who are incarcerated, who are victims of an “ism”, who need housing, who need healthy food and learn to make choices for better nutrition for their families. We respond with our time. We respond with our money. Westminster gives about 20% of the pledges we all make at this time of year to groups working on these community issues. We support about 30 organizations with these donations—from CROP to Sin Berreras, PACEM, Good News, Habitat and many others.
Paths to home go two ways – incoming by nurturing and going out by sharing. May we be nourished and led as we continue practicing, sharing HOME with those in need.
Nancy O’Brien, on behalf of the Benevolence Committee