March 17, 2013
To the Members of St Mark’s Lutheran Church, Fargo, North Dakota:
I attended the congregational meeting to vote on seeking a buyer for St. Mark's property today, and I had a realization. St. Mark's Lutheran Church [a Reconciling in Christ congregation] is the first faith community where I've felt like I was home. I've only known the church for a little over a year, and I've been a member for less than that. Nonetheless, St. Mark's has become a home for me. As the results were read, I immediately felt a wave of sorrow. A loss. As I looked around the sanctuary, gauging others' responses, my own response changed. I felt an enormous sense of community, and the strength of this congregation's members was resonating in that holy space. I realized the church was no more home to me than the house I'm renting in Moorhead, or the hotel I stayed at on my last vacation. My rented house is home because of the people I live with: 4 of my best friends. The hotel felt like home because my dad was in the other bed. And this church building feels like home because of the men and women who have welcomed me unquestioningly; men and women who have become my role models; men and women who have inspired my faith at a time when it was nearly gone. I realized that the sale of a building will never be able to eliminate that community, and a sense of peace came over me. When that peace settled in, I had tears in my eyes; they were not, however, tears of sadness, sorrow, or loss. They were tears of love, tears of hope. They were the same tears I cried as I returned to my family after my first 2-week vacation alone. St. Mark's has made such an impact on my life over the last year; I cannot imagine how this change must feel for those who have been a part of this family for years, or even decades. For those who felt the heavy weight of loss as the results were read, I hope each person had the chance to look around and feel the strength and community that I felt filling that space. That feeling is going to grow, adapt, and live in whatever space it is given in the future. And that makes me excited to be a part of St. Mark's Lutheran Congregation.
With love for my church family,