One recent weekend at Heritage Church beautifully summed up what, for me, this beloved community is all about. On Saturday afternoon, two hundred souls filled the sanctuary, the lobby, and the Great Hall to honor and remember the late Connie Booth. The following morning, well over a hundred folks returned to the church for a very special Sunday worship service. In the course of about 22 hours, there were – by my estimation – well over a thousand hugs exchanged, not to mention countless tears shed, equally countless smiles offered, and ultimately priceless connections forged and strengthened.
I believe Heritage is exactly the type of intentional, multi-generational community people need in our fractured, chaotic world. Consider more of the things that took place, in our sacred space, in just one weekend:
We celebrated an individual life, well-lived, while acknowledging the profound pain and heartbreak of our loss. We lifted our voices in shared song – sometimes, through tears – in memory of the dearly departed. We invited children to take part in our rituals and our open, honest approach to death. We held one another. We shared laughter and memories. We broke bread together. We allowed ourselves to be deeply moved by beautiful music. We welcomed many folks from outside our church community with open arms and open hearts. We expressed our gratitude for human connection, and divine interconnection.
And that was just on Saturday.
The next day, we dedicated ourselves and our community to the nurture and care of a new baby in our midst. We honored the turning of the wheel of the year, and gave thanks for the approaching spring. We appreciated the gifts of singers and musicians. Our hearts were touched by a powerful story of invisible, eternal connection. Our hands were touched and our spirits were healed by holy water (gathered from all over the world, by us). Each of us was told, unequivocally and with conviction, “You are loved.” There is no more important message for anyone to hear. And friends, what a blessing it is, that the religious community we share is a place to hear it.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the privilege of serving this church. May Love always be, the spirit that animates our congregation.