Blog Post by
Rev. Vanessa Hawkins
Designated Associate Leader of the
Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy
This past Sunday as I sat in First Church Edwardsville, Illinois, as they dedicated their new building, I was in awe at this new stage of their journey. Entering the building I was engulfed by the sound of excited voices and the smell of newly painted walls, new carpet, chairs, and windows. My feet sank into the firmness of the mixed grey carpet as I made my way to the pastor’s office with a picture window displaying a winter scene of rural America. New chairs, still wrapped in plastic wrap, were stacked to my right and as I toured the sanctuary I was greeted by the rich colors of the stained-glass windows. The new stained-glass windows complimented the old ones.
I listened as the pastor and members talked about the features of the church and how the past had not been shunted aside, but artfully blended into the new. With this new building in this new location, this discerning congregation made the decision to following the promptings of the Spirit and move onto an unknown path trusting that God walks with them. The dedication service was wonderful.
As I sat in the pews, I thought about the presbytery office building. The Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy has made some significant decisions over the last couple of years—ne major decision was to sell the presbytery office building and to rent office space. Each day I walk into the office and I see the evidence of that decision. We are in the midst of moving and there are fewer items in the building to move because our history team has found new homes for some items, presbytery members have claimed a piece of the rich history that has filled this building, and the Presbyterian Historical Society has claimed journals and minutes which they will digitize and store. Boxes are still in offices, along the hallway walls, and tucked away in corners. As staff, we have moved from a distant understanding of the move to a restlessness to once again be settled in one place without the disruptions of packing, purging, and second-guessing ourselves as we discern the best way forward.
I look forward to the next step of our journey in a new location as we discern how to best use that sacred space in creative and life-giving ways that witness to our neighbors that we are a community of faith, willing to walk an unknown path for we trust that God walks it with us.
Rev. Vanessa Hawkins