The year was 1996. My home congregation had been faced with a building decision. Do we build on land we own, or do we renovate the very ugly, inadequate building we have? We used this issue as a distraction from relevant community work for way too long. We finally voted on saving the money and renovating the building ourselves.
I can always remember the year, because that was the same year that my eldest child began solidly walking and my youngest started talking. My eldest child was put in charge of bringing water to the workers and running various small errands. The first words out of my youngest son’s mouth were hammer, drill, sharp nail, ouch and Bob.
Bob was in charge of our building and grounds and orchestrated the work parties.
Fast forward to 2008. We’re still in that building. Bob was my eldest son, Quinn’s Coming of Age mentor. For his service project they built a fence around the church parking lot together. Bob pulled me aside to say in amazement that Quinn remembers the building renovation – heck if you ask him, he was a full-fledged member of the work party. (at age 3.)
Quinn also joined Bob’s Building and Grounds Committee when he became a voting member at age 14. Pounding nails and cleaning gutters is a healthy way to channel his teenage angst. Sometimes he and Bob will go make repairs at the homes of some of our elders’. Because, “That’s what we do, Mom.”
Religious Education teaches us we each matter. We each have a place. We each contribute to our collective story. There are common values that guide us, “That’s what we do, Mom.”