The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
Last summer, Humble Walk Lutheran Church tried something new. We invited adults to Vacation Bible School, one we called “V (noBS).” For three evenings in a row, we gathered to do everything kids do in old school VBS. We gathered for an opening in the sanctuary, with singing led by Paul Friesen-Carper…a capella, raise the roof, transcendent singing that calmed anxiety and invited people into community.
Folks were assigned groups and group leaders, then rotated together among stations: making art with local artist Josie Lewis, playing group games led by two Augsburg College students and finally, snack time and discussion. Then we all met up together for a bible story and closing, led by the Rev. Phil GebbenGreen and the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber.
We asked people to opt in for the whole entire three-day event, and they did. We asked them to do things out of their comfort zone, and they did. We asked them to make conversation with people they didn’t know, and they did. We asked them to reimagine old Bible stories and set down the children’s version they might still be carrying around, and they did.
People came from the north and south and east and west and feasted together at the table of God. They came from Denver, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Milwaukee and even from all the way across the river…Minneapolis. We created a church together, a shelter. Some hadn’t set foot in a church for decades. Many carry significant wounds related to church. A number of people walked in cold, without knowing one other person in the building. Can you imagine the courage that took? It’s remarkable. The Spirit gathers those who need it most. She’s clever and surprising that way. It always feels like a miracle.
Humble Walk stretched and grew and extended themselves and learned so much along the way. It was also an incredible amount of work for a small congregation. I’m proud of their commitment at extending this table well beyond those who are right before us. You will likely want to come to the next event: July 20-22, 2020. Registration opens in January.
About Humble Walk—Humble Walk began its ministry in the living room of Mission Developer Rev. Jodi Houge a decade ago. Today, it meets for worship Sunday afternoons at 4:30 at Art House North in the West 7th Neighborhood of St. Paul. In addition to weekly worship gatherings, this community finds itself flocking to a local bar for storytelling events or the well known Beer and Hymns event about once a month. This community of faith finds its core purpose to be a place of refuge and sanctuary for all—but especially for those seeking a new or different experience of church. They do this by meeting people where they are and inviting them into relationship with one another and with God.