One sure sign of summer’s warmer weather is the increase of activity along Wayne Street outside Trinity. People walking for exercise, leading dogs on leashes, heading to a business or other destination: it’s a bustling place. Occasionally I get to take my lunch break out in the Cloister Garden. I enjoy it, partly because I feel like I can observe without being observed----eavesdrop on conversations as friends walk by, listen to the radio music enjoyed by the crews working on our Chapel, spot the local legends like the skateboarding trombone player (yes, I have seen him!).
The garden offers a serenity that is hard to match other places. Thanks to Sue Foreman, it is lush and lovely, with different scents wafting on the breeze. The soaring steeple and statue of St. Francis add religious iconography to remind me I’m at a church. It’s a rare opportunity to be present, unplugged and ‘in the moment.’
My professional background started in journalism (television news, to be precise), where daily deadlines ruled my schedule. Newsrooms are noisy places and there is very little ‘down’ time. I am still a bit of an adrenaline junkie, at least in terms of mental aerobics. I have a hard time sitting with a quiet mind. I want to know what other people are doing, what they are saying, whom they are seeing. Our workdays around here are fairly busy: there is never “nothing” to do. But sometimes that cacophony of “other people’s voices” gets awfully loud. I can sometimes focus on the noise instead of what we’re trying to do.
If your only experience with “church” is that it is quiet, and peaceful--- well, you aren’t here during most weekdays! It’s a vibrant, energetic place of ideas and collaboration and shared approaches to addressing challenges and solving problems. I bet your day is a lot like mine: people needing your attention, phone calls, e-mails, texts, assignments, deadlines…. There is never a lack of need, so the rare opportunity to sneak out into the sunshine and breathe in the peace of the garden is a real day-changing, mind-altering experience. I commend the invitation to you: if it fits your schedule one day this summer, bring a sack lunch and come sit in the garden. Breathe. Listen.
That still, small voice you hear there just may be your own.
I don’t know if everyone has been going full-tilt, as my mother would say, but life has been very busy around here lately.
Every morning (almost), I start my day by spending some time on my treadmill. It’s a chance for me to be active , but not have to concentrate too hard, so I can go over my day’s calendar in my head.
More and more, the agenda includes reaching out and responding to people who’ve been interested in something going on at Trinity. Recently, I’ve met with people associated with the United Way, Arts United, the Center for Congregations, Amani Family Services, Big Brothers-Big Sisters, the Downtown Improvement District, City of Fort Wayne, the United Negro College Fund, Fort Wayne United and several other groups working to improve our community.
The weekly Race Dialogue on Wednesday evening has been an eye-opener in so many ways—and though my own family is transracial, I have been humbled to find that I, too, have much to learn about life for those who do not look like me in our community.
I’ve gone on “field trips” to Heart of the City Mission Church, to see how they try to meet basic needs for people in their neighborhood, including food, clean clothing and the assurance that someone cares.
Recently, Kierstin Kellermeyer and I visited with the folks at Windrose Urban Farm, over on Lafayette. The nondescript blue building houses a mushroom growing operation, the likes of which I have never seen. Who knew mushrooms could be so interesting? But listening to the manager, Chris Knipstein, talk about the medicinal and nutritional properties of the mushrooms (which are almost beautiful when you start looking at them) it was hard not to be engaged. Perhaps a unique aspect of the business is that it operates as an employment program for young adults with autism and other developmental challenges. I will definitely be looking for their produce and their soups at the Barr Street Market this summer (which starts this Saturday!).
Blue Oyster Mushrooms growing in the fruiting chamber at Windrose Urban Farm
I guess I just want to share with you all how many people and how many types of people are in and out of this building and in and out of our social circles on any given week at Trinity. In every case, I am confident that we see in each other the eyes of Jesus, as we make our way through life in the center of a very busy downtown community.