If you Google, you’ll find there’s lots of debate out there about what was once dubbed the pandemic’s Great Migration. But based on what I observed (which is, admittedly, limited and anecdotal), it did seem a lot of young adults were relocating for a variety of reasons. I’ve moved around a lot in my life. Since birth, nine years is the longest amount of time I’ve remained in one place – Gary, IN.
Perhaps my own experiences with migration have contributed to my beating hospitality into my congregations like a dead horse. It’s tough to be in a new place and our anxiety can be dramatically impacted by how well we are welcomed into a new space by those who preceded us there.
When I was 6 or 7, my dad was moved to his first post-seminary pastoral charge near Johnstown, PA. In the church there was a couple who had no children (an unusual thing at that time). They invited us over for dinner. At their home, Dot pulled out sticker books for me! My family was too poor for sticker books and they were one of my favorite things. Over the five years my family lived in that community, Dot became my “church mom” and she was amazing.
On Monday evening, July 18, at 6pm in the GREAT Room at Trinity, Anthony Cawdron, manager of Westwood Estate (the home of Purdue’s president), will be our Fusion storyteller. Anthony’s father was in the Royal Air Force. That, in itself, could make a fascinating story, I’m sure! As in the US, military service meant moving around… a lot. Anthony has vivid memories of what it was like to enter into different communities, cultures and countries as a child. Perhaps that’s why he was drawn to the hospitality business. Managing Westwood brings him into contact with lots of different people who, I’m sure, have varying ideas around welcome and hospitality.
At Trinity, Anthony has helped to make our space more hospitable by planting flowers and doing landscaping. Environments – not just people – effectively convey, or fail to convey, a warm welcome.
As Christians, it’s important for us to remember that, whether introverted or extroverted, the way in which we welcome others into our space – our homes, our church, our lives – represents God’s welcome. There’s no underestimating the power of hospitality.
Fusion is a unique experience in Christian community that focuses on building relationships as we share our stories with one another. We have the opportunity to hear first-hand from those whose experiences and perspectives are often different from our own. At Fusion, everyone is encouraged to “bring you and bring your story” to a welcoming space where we connect, discover and grow as we gather around the table to eat, listen and share.
We’d love to have you join us for Fusion on July 18 to hear Anthony’s story. For more info, go to http://www.trinitylafayette.org/fusion.html