On the Lord’s Day, we begin each new week in our Sanctuary, where we gather as a community of faith and where we worship God. The beauty of the room is matched only by the sacred act of worship. It is a place where we offer our thanksgiving to God, where we are called again to follow Jesus, and where we are formed by the practice of our faith.
The church voted in January to replace the ceiling of the Sanctuary due to necessary repairs and to raise the funds needed for the project through a capital campaign, entitled Building Sanctuary, which will begin this April. During this time, we will reflect upon the immediate need for this project as well as its benefits to our long-term financial health; but we will also ponder the wider meaning of “Building Sanctuary.” Our Sanctuary, which is at the heart of our church, extends further than the dimensions of four walls, even though it originates in one specific room.
Our Sanctuary is the place where we sing and pray, celebrate and grieve, speak and listen, give thanks and extend hope. It is a “thin place,” where the heavens and the earth meet, like watching the light pour forth through the stained-glass windows, as it reminds us of the Light of the World. It is the place that marks our comings and goings each week. It builds our community with each other, and it fosters our communion with God. It is a place of Word and Table.
It also marks many milestones in our lives and on our faith journeys. In that room, the congregation makes a commitment to the children of the church at baby dedication, and then we listen as young people make a commitment to Christ and to the Church at baptism. We rejoice as we sing together at Christmas and Easter, and we also grieve with one another as we sing together at the funerals of our loved ones. The walls of the Sanctuary are layered with our prayers and praises, our gratitude and grief.
In the room where we worship, we build the wider sanctuary of the church, where we are welcomed by the presence of God, forgiven by the grace of Jesus the Christ, and renewed by the Spirit of God. When we enter that room, we remember that we are children of God, shaped and molded by our faith.
Our sanctuary moves beyond the four walls of where we worship because it defines us as a people. It is why if someone wants to get to know us, there is no better place than in that room, where our sanctuary begins. It is where we begin each week, as we travel down our shared journey of faith.
We are grateful for the congregation, as we continue to build sanctuary with one another and as we offer our support and gifts in order to make the necessary repairs to the ceiling of the Sanctuary of our church.