Back in 2003, I was in a strange place in life. I had just married my girlfriend. My aunt had just died three months after her cancer diagnosis. And I was scouring church profiles for a possible move. My sister in law was sick with cancer and had three teenaged children. My wife was feeling the need to be close to her. I was ready for a move. So we looked at churches in New Brunswick. There were no obvious candidates. A year before a friend had called asking me to apply to Moncton. Two churches were open, and one he "wouldn't recommend to his worst enemy." A year later, that was the church to which I applied. Sadly, their long-time organist had just died, putting a pause on the call process as they figured that out. Then I had a call for an interview. "Bring your wife!" So we went to Moncton for the interview. Before it, we were swimming in the pool at the hotel and I said, 'I don't know why, but I know I've got this." A day later, the offer was made to me.
It's a beat up, old, downtown church that has burned down a few times and rebuilt with war-time bricks and burned bricks from the previous building that were saved. It's crumbling in places but we've had it repointed and fixed up. Good for another 20 years. But, inside it's beautiful. All wood and glass.
But even more so, I found my people. It took a while to get our groove but when people become more than family (when they become community) you become oddly protective of them, and more apt to challenge them. And then, they become more protective of you, and they challenge you. Growth moments. A photographer sent this picture of our building during a church service; I've never seen that before.
And this is home. These people are my home. There's a strong presence here, though I can't articulate what that is. But this congregation makes me want to dive in deeper with Jesus. And my cynical, pessimistic heart doesn't say that easily.