Pastor Shawn Hannon
Hope Lutheran Church, Arcade, NY
In case you haven’t heard, there is a bit of a building project going on at the church I serve. The construction of the Future with Hope Community and Ministry Center is underway. So far we have completed the site work, poured the foundation, built the walls, and put the plywood sheeting on the exterior of the building. As we prepare for the trusses and the roof, the church building crew is tackling the next step on our to-do list: We are tying the new building into the existing one.
Tying the new building into the existing one is an exciting process that must be done carefully. Unlike the past phases of construction where we were working with empty land and new materials, suddenly we are forced to slow down and consider how what we are doing works with what is already here. While it might be nice to power through and simply throw up a new wall, the past bids us to stop and listen. Ignoring the call would result in many disasters.
As we analyzed the connection between the old and new buildings for wires, roof pitches, water runoff, and more, I found myself asking questions about more than simply the infrastructure. We are tying into the old nursery room. How many children have played in that room? It will become a hallway to our existing fellowship hall. How many of the faithful have gathered there for conversation before or after worship, ate a church meal there with their friends, or used the space to celebrate a significant milestone in their faith journey like a baptism, communion, or wedding? And more, who built those walls like we were building the new ones? What would they think about their wall becoming a doorway?
Suddenly I wasn’t simply trying to make sure we didn’t saw through an electrical wire in making our connection or that it looks nice when it is all said and done. I was to make sure we honored the past even as we built toward the future.
At this stage in our construction the old building is meeting the new, and with it all 58 years of ministry at Hope in Arcade are meeting the next chapter in our congregation’s story. For me, that intersection of space and time is sacred. As individuals or organizations, it is our principle job to look ahead, but not so much that we fail to recognize the past. We honor the past for the ways that it has blessed us and led us to where we are today. We learn from the past and the ways our history has fallen short. And we take that energy and those lessons and move toward the future God is making for us.
As you consider your future — perhaps you’ve recently graduated or gotten married or started a new job or simply feel ready for a change — remember to take a moment to recognize your past. Honor its blessings. Learn its lessons. It has made you who you are, and it may not be quite done forming you just yet.
For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.