I like questions. I was the child in the backseat of the car who asked their parents every ten minutes “are we there yet?” because mostly I liked to see what kind of answer I would receive. Sometimes my parents would answer me honestly with the time left in our trip, other times they would sigh and exasperated, they would tell me that we were ten minutes closer than the last time I had asked. Quite frequently, my sister would roll her eyes and try to move her body as far away as she could from me and my relentless probing. If I was a child today, my parents would probably have bought me a GPS just to get a break. My sister would have contributed financially.
This questioning nature has perhaps become less obnoxious as I’ve aged but I still find myself asking many questions every day. I think that’s why I like this year’s Spirit and Place theme so much because it has challenged me to come up with endless inquiries about what home means. So, what is home? Is it a place, or a person, or a feeling? Is it a physical house or an emotional state of being? Does it have to be the place where you live or can it be somewhere you feel comfortable like a church, or a park, or a bookstore? On an even more basic level, is it just someplace where you feel safe and protected?
The recurring theme that I seem to keep coming back to through all of these questions is welcome. To me, home is where you feel welcome and where you can welcome others. Which, of course, leads me to an entirely new set of questions on how does one do this? How do you welcome others into your home, your city, or your community? Is it through a handshake or a hug, picking a refugee family up at the airport, providing a meal and a bed to a weary traveler, or by having a genuine conversation with others? As for me, I bet you can guess, when I welcome someone, I tend to ask a lot of questions.
I hope you will join me in seeking out answers to these inquiries and more by attending the 21st Annual Spirit and Place Festival on November 4th-13th. Are we there yet?
Katie Bulloff is the Social Media Coordinator and Stewardship Associate at Northminster Presbyterian Church. Along with Exodus Refugee Immigration, The Polis Center, and Yardbox Films, Northminster is pleased to be presenting Refugees Welcome on November 12th from 2-4pm as part of this year’s Spirit and Place Festival.