The New Camp House. The Old Camp House.

The space that a church occupies has always meant something to me. I embrace the idea that as believers it is about collective worship and where we are collected to worship matters very little, but there is still something meaningful to me about the space we inhabit as a church body. Perhaps it’s because when I was younger, my school was a part of my church, so the places where I learned and dreamt and were scolded were the same places I brought my offerings before God and ate the bread and wine from the table. I could walk through that old building in New York and I could probably recollect a memory in every square inch of it. When I graduated and left my hometown, I remember taking a walk through that building. I stopped at all the spots that were important to me, and I remembered. It was closure to me as I paused, remembered, and savored each place and each feeling. I loved walking through that old building on Fisk street, and I would love to do it again, but I no longer need to physically walk through that building to be reminded. I can dance through that building on memories and still remember.

I will walk through the Camp House today. I will stop near the spot where Jon and I sat on the first Sunday we visited. I had a terrible attitude that Sunday, as I often have a hard time with change, and attending the Camp House was a big change for me. I will stop at the the place where Matt Busby told me with such excitement that his wife was pregnant, and I knew I needed to go find her, say congratulations, and become her friend. We are dear friends to this day. I will stop at the place where I approached a young couple who was expecting their first baby and chatted with them over the Evensong meal. Little did I know we would also become dear friends. It took a lot of courage for me to sit down and talk with them, but I received a rich reward. I will stand on the stage where many nights I would watch my husband work from a distance, and my heart will well with pride at the man he has become. I will also recollect how from that stage I received words of life from God’s servants as they preached and led us in worship. I will pause by the place near the stairs where my daughter received her first blessing over the eucharist. I will stop in the kitchen where I washed many a dish after preparing the Evensong meal. Strangely enough I will stop in the closet near the kitchen as I spent a lot of time there organizing the pantry and preparing for the Evensong meal. I will stop in the far bathroom where I read the pregnancy test that said we were going to be parents; I never know a bathroom could hold so much sentimental value. I will peek in the Mission Exchange as I have fond recollections of talking with wise friends about life in that space. I will stop at the sound board last. I will stand and remember what that sound board means to me. It is where my husband found his place in the church body. It is where he received accolades and praise for his talents which has encouraged him in his pursuit to be the best he can be. It is where he thinks, plans, hopes and dreams. The sound board is his home away from home. (I know that because it is often as messy as his actual home!)

Even though these places cannot come with me as we transition into a new building, their meaning and memory are forever etched on my heart. 1427 Williams Street will always be the Camp House to me. Even if they put an art studio in there, it will be an art studio in the old Camp House. That building will hold a special place in my heart. But my heart fills with longing and expectation when I think about the new Camp House. My daughter will be dedicated on that stage. She will receive the eucharist for the first time at that altar. My friends and I will deepen our relationships over tables in that space. My husband will grow as a man and as a sound engineer in that sound castle. I will receive the words of life from that pulpit. And I cannot wait.

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