A few months ago, after serving a small congregation for two decades, I was invited to prayerfully consider a move into New York City. I embraced that invitation, because it led me here to Inwood, a parish eager to start new ministries in a renovated sanctuary and to connect with its community.
On Sunday, October 17 at 4pm, our new sanctuary will be consecrated, and it is a moment to build community. Your friends and neighbors are welcome. Please reach out to former parish members you may know.
Dedications signal our connection, our rootedness to place. They point to concrete, tangible, physical locations where we seek to plant roots, to remember, to point to the familiar. When we move into a new house, we may remember the first picture that goes up, the first meal cooked, the first mattress purchased, the first visitor. Each one of them represents a deepening of being in a place. They are each sorts of dedication.
The cultural context we inhabit, especially in New York City, doesn’t make deepening roots easy. We value being on the move. Novelty and convenience and speed represent the more present virtues we celebrate. And yet, what makes a good life possible are consistency, reliability, and roots. Spiritually, stability anticipates being able to manage change and conversion with health. It’s why we make promises. It’s why we consecrate spaces.
On Sunday, as we consecrate our new sanctuary, the space won't be finished. A bucket (It will be nicer than just a bucket, though!) will become a baptismal font. A table will be our altar. A reading stand, a pulpit. Yet the consecration elevates and celebrates the hours of planning and building that anticipated our dedication. It reminds us that the work to prepare the building was tinged with holiness — people poured hours of love to prepare a place where children will be baptized, communities will gather for feasts, people will get married, and lives will be celebrated.
Here we are, it says. We are going to plant and grow! There was compost, and there will be roots, and then flowers and fruits of the spirit. Let us see what comes next.
While there will be singing, we will wear masks. For those who cannot join us and those who are not vaccinated, there will be livestream on Facebook.