As I ponder my 19th year as a member of Holy Trinity Inwood, I am thinking about “place.” Upon her first visit to my new apartment my mother had consulted an Episcopal directory and found the church located just two short blocks away. We went, felt welcomed, and I decided to go the next Sunday after she left. My spotty discipline and resolve would not have gotten me to church in midtown or the Upper West Side on regular Sunday mornings, but right down the road – why not? The place has a beautiful garden hiding on a hill, with the look of a country parish. The building is imperfect, a wee bit shabby in spots and often needs TLC, just like a lot of us. Just the right place for me.
In this place I can sing, laugh, worship, and cry. I can discuss my thoughts and concerns about the performance world, the neighborhood, life, and the local, national, and global issues of the day. I’ve made life-long friends and some great transient friends. Many have come and gone from the church, the neighborhood and the state. That same year I found this place, so did a young man with a dream. He worked hard, and founded Pied Piper Children’s Theater, and he let us all share in his wonderful dream that brought more life and energy to the place.
I’ve since moved twice, having to travel a few subway stops for a couple years, and finally now I am a pleasant 15-minute walk away. Being in Inwood and close to Holy Trinity has always been a consideration for where I’d live. My home. My place.
Because I’m a bit lazy I will always appreciate our church’s location right here in the “hood.” But for me, does it have to be this same beautiful, crumbling, welcoming, physically difficult to access, emerald-blue phlox covered, meat-locker cold, tree-shaded set of buildings?
I resist change like a proud Luddite, but as the saying goes, “the only thing constant is change.”
I know God will find me and I God, in whatever house we find ourselves. The Piper will have a place to lead the children. And the people I cherish will come and go as they always have. So I’m OK if the place changes some.
Oh, there is one thing… I’ll want to see that little stained glass chalice window when I’m in that place — it might be my deal breaker.