By Rev. Kathryn Ray
Sunday morning coffee hour has always felt to me like a great act of weaving in and out between different worlds. There is a constant vaivén, the swaying back and forth between English and Spanish, interspersed with what few words of Karen I know that are always received with grace. It is a moving in and out of worlds, mediated both by language and by physical space. This person gets a hug; another gets a handshake; another, a kiss on the cheek.
I’ll never forget the moment when I was coming up from Hispanic worship and ran into Cecilia Poenyunt. As I had been kissing people on the cheek all morning, I moved in towards her face, until an alarm went off in my brain shouting “ABORT! ABORT! ABORT!” At the last second, I extended my hand for a handshake. What is a warm greeting for one is an intrusion into the physical space of another. This place never fails to keep me on my toes.
This story has always embodied an essential component of my experience at NSBC. With every encounter with another individual at this church, I find a sacred space that I must enter on its own terms. I greet other people on a daily basis without a second thought. This church demands that I be intentional about my greetings. That intentionality reminds me of the beauty and holiness of the act: the welcoming and the being welcomed, the joyful heralding of a shared space.
With each encounter with another, I move not only between worlds, but between stories. For each of us, there is a story behind our arrival in this church, and more stories unfold with each passing week, each passing coffee hour. What is your story? What brings you into this space, and what happens for you while you are here?
As we enter pledge campaign season, we will be thinking about how much money we pledge to donate to the church in 2019. As we think about money, I also want us to think about stories. What stories that accompany each gift you make to the church? Starting October 4, there will be a display in the Wilbur Warner Welcome Center entitled “Why I Give to NSBC.” I invite you to use one of the large Post-Its provided to share your story. If you are on social media, I also invite you to post your stories, photos, and reflections online using the hashtag #whyIgivetoNSBC.
To share my story: I give to the church, in part, because of this absurd and beautiful moment when I was stopped up short transitioning between cultural spaces during coffee hour.