By the time you read this article, we will have already completed 3 Sunday worship services focused on the global theme of transitional housing. The question that has been before us, and the one that comes now into sharper focus is “What’s next?”

So far, we have explored some of the common ground that we all share as human beings; ultimately, we are all strangers, wayfarers, wanderers far from home. We are always in transition, whether we like it or not, whether we realize it or not. Transition invites and even demands that we be especially attuned to what is happening around us and within us. Times of transition, that often appear in biblical writings as times in the “wilderness,” also offer amazing chances to meet God in new ways and realize still more about God’s goodness and greatness.

We have tuned into stories from those experiencing acute unsettledness in terms of housing at this very moment, people who are the recipients of support services intended to help them find more “home” than they now have. And we have heard about some of those specific support services, allowing ourselves to appreciate what is useful, to critique what is not working and what is missing from the network, and to imagine ways to do something constructive in response.

We will gather to make clear plans to be involved as a congregation in bringing about justice and helping families find their way forward. Might involvement with families in transition be a catalyst to expand and embolden our community outreach? What might you personally offer to a person or family in need? Think about that, and come prepared to talk about ideas to make a difference in people’s lives.

This unfolding story is about “the least of these” to whom Jesus called and still calls our attention and our efforts. In the current service system, families get 84 days in shelter to get their act together, discover their strengths and abilities, remedy sometimes long-standing and pervasive deficits, sure up their faith, overcome sometimes seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and summon the courage to pull themselves back from the edge of calamity. Is 84 days enough? Would it be for you?

How can we as a congregation of gifted and compassionate people step in and help families make the most of every opportunity they have? How can we build in more opportunities to ensure that they can get themselves to where they’d like to be?

We are blessed to have each other and, all together, we are blessed by God whose love is evident enough to inspire gratitude, faith, and competence that builds upon itself. We are a remarkably capable and caring group. May our efforts in the service of stable housing for all become yet another wonderful way St. Paul’s UCC is identified in this community we all call home>

Blessings, Marty

Follow-up from June Highlights: In the June edition of Highlights, I wrote about coming to terms again with tradition and what it might mean in real terms in our life together. I suggested that we might benefit from screening and talking together about the classic story “Fiddler on the Roof.” Plans are being made to include that film in the context of an ongoing monthly movie screening and conversation program through the church-year, starting in September. Please see the next edition of Highlights for specific information.

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