Can you go home again?

Posted: July 22, 2012 by Ty in Musings
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Funny little quote, will “You can’t go home again” which has many sources, the one we are most familiar with in the west is the novel by Tom Wolfe. The just is that once you have left home, you cannot go back and have it be home.

But is this true?

I was told by my first Presbytery supervisor in the United Church of Canada (Calgary) as a youth pastor, that he would not re-place youth pastors in churches where they had once served, or let us stay on as faith family members after we stepped down for it created to weird of a situation for the new person coming in. As for the former comment, it was basically this concept that we could not rebuild what had been ended.

Yet I believe this is going a step too far in the Christianities. If we are truly to believe that our gatherings are faith families, then like family yes we grow, we change, we move out, move back, it is more fluid than solid.

I have gone back and served several time in former calls, and experienced warm welcomes, and witnessed God‘s reign grow in the hearts through the ministries and causes She called me to.

I have achieved closure through some services (I remember reflecting on my personal faith pilgrimage that took me back through churches of my familial and personal history to learn and grow as God wanted me to).

Yet there was always some empty shadows in my heart of wonderment of two little churches that I had felt I left too early, using this adage I was taught at the beginning of my pastoral formation: Do not return.

One my family has spent some time this summer worshipping at, we feel welcome, and love the diversity of the faith community found there (yes we use our summers to travel and explore other churches)…and through this one have found a vacation bible school for free that our children can attend finally (it was VBS‘ that shaped my understanding of God as a child as we did not attend traditional church, so this has been an important piece I wanted my children to be apart of).

The second church I have returned to once or twice as pulpit supply. It is a small Presbyterian church in Pineridge, and it was the church where I attended VBS as a child. I returned there as a young adult, and became their youth pastor, planting a youth group. But in the turmoil of misunderstanding/coming to an understanding of what is a successful ministry and the (Non)importance of titles, I left to pursue ordination in a church family that was not a family. Yet it always left a feeling in my heart as to whether or not this little church could have been long term home. Does it share all my theological beliefs? No, but then which church will. It was a welcoming environment, trying to be what their community needed.

So part of this summer pilgrimage will be some time at this little congregation as well to answer the question for my self, can you go home again? But more importantly for my family at this time at the crossroads whether it is this one, or the former one mentioned or the one we were attending before the summer:

Where will we call home? Where does the Spirit lead us to be accepted, to love and be loved, to offer our gifts in ministry?

For that is what family is truly about. What home is about. A place you belong. Grow. Share. Laugh. Love. Together. Labels need not apply.


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