There’s no place like home: home is where the heart is: going home for the holidays. Such phrases role easily off the tongue without a great deal of thought.
For many of us home is where the deep roots of our memories, hopes and dreams reside, where we were formed and grew, much more than a physical place, rather a state of being.
For the lucky among us home is remembered as, and continues to be, a place of safety and security, where we learn about love, trust and respect. Home is where our faults and failings as well as our gifts and talents are known and acknowledged. A place where we can discard our ‘masks’ and feel safe, a place recalled with nostalgia and gratitude as well as feelings of regret for things said or left unsaid.
For others among us home may not evoke such positive memories, where lack of love, experience of violence and abuse, neglect, misunderstanding and lack of acceptance can have a huge impact on our capacity to love and to live well as adults with an ability to share our God given gifts with others.
I would suggest that those of us who stand each week and profess ‘I believe’ are presented with the enormous challenge of creating a home for all those who feel they have no home elsewhere. It is not about creating a beautiful building that could be empty of human emotion and soulless but rather a place of welcome where all may find a refuge from the storms that surround them, a space for those who have no other place to lay their head.
The National Justice and Peace Network is offering to all the opportunity to seriously consider this challenge at the annual Swanwick Conference which takes place from 20-22nd July: ‘In the shelter of each other the people live’, a phrase which recognises the fact that not one of us can live well unless we recognise the humanity of each of our brothers and sisters. Where else, if not within a Church community which professes to believe in the intrinsic value of each human soul, may all people find rest?
The conference will explore ways in which we can build a Church and society with the marginalised, excluded and most vulnerable at its heart.
It is only in relationship with each other and with the earth that we can truly be ‘at home’
Anne Peacey 6.4.18