Welcome Home Sunday…that’s what we’re calling it this year, as we begin our theme of welcome for September. Historically, this Sunday in September has been called “Opening Sunday,” a holdover from the many years that WES closed down in the summertime. We’ve been meeting in summers for twenty years now, but we kept that idea of “opening” for some time–and really, “welcome home” has some of the same idea in it, that many of us went in different directions over the summer and now are returning together.
Perhaps, like me, you have been away from WES this summer. Perhaps, like me, you’ve enjoyed the break! And perhaps, like me, you are now glad for the welcome home, glad to be able to reconnect with a community where your values are reflected back to you, where you are reminded of both the beauty and the tragedy of life, and where you gather with others to respond.
As we move into this new congregational year, we are focusing our work together in a few ways. In upcoming blogs, we will look at each of our Focus Goals for the year (created at the midyear retreat last February by the Board, staff, and key lay leaders and available here). Today, I want to focus on the idea of lay leadership and ownership.
Because here’s the thing about the idea of welcoming people home to WES: none of us can do that alone. We aren’t a family home, where the head of household might offer the welcome. We are a living and changing community, where each of us has received a welcome from those who came before, and each of us is responsible for offering a welcome to those who come after us. Sometimes people talk about “volunteering” at WES…and of course it’s true that WES exists because of the work that so many people voluntarily give. But I imagine that work not exactly as volunteering, the way you might at a food bank which is run by some other organization, but rather serving or helping to build…and in so doing, experiencing your own growth and transformation.
So how do you want to build this home we share in the coming year? What new way might you serve WES–are you feeling a pull to stretch your activist muscles, or wishing you had an outlet for your creative side? Perhaps you feel that in this political climate our children need special attention, or maybe you believe strongly in anti-racism work and want to be a part of that here in this community. Wherever you feel drawn to engage this year, there is a place for you–not just to volunteer, but to build and shape, to create, to own. You can expect the staff and others to be reaching out to you…but I also hope you’ll be in touch with me directly if you have something in mind.
Together, we will welcome each other to the home of our own creation, again and again.
Amanda Poppei, Senior Leader