Symbols: New Place, Liminal Space

Mar 2, 2021liminal space

Worship in our old sanctuary ended in June of 2016. We walked out of the space and into a rented chapel a few blocks away. The new space was like the old one. Only we weren’t.

We were a transforming people, a new community inhabiting a traditional setting. The rented space fit like a new pair of pants before you wash them, stiff and itchy. We were flexible and creative. It would suffice for the time being, but it wasn’t comfortable. Whatever came next for us would have to embody all of the work we’d done. And, renting a small chapel wasn’t it. We also weren’t sure we wanted to return to the new building.

When we sold the property, we received a letter of intent to lease space in the new Gilliam Place. We held onto it for months, undecided. Eventually, we let it lapse at the end of 2016. We weren’t sure where we needed to be. Maybe too much was happening around and within us. Maybe, the commitment to return felt forced rather than natural.

We found ourselves in a liminal space as the Spirit continued to shape and move us. We were caught between what was and what came next.

Seven months after we signed the final paperwork, our long time pastor, Rev. Sharon Core, felt the call to move on. In January of 2017, we celebrated our time together in her final worship service. If there ever was a thing as purposefully adrift, we imagine this is what it felt like.

We’d done the things we discerned God calling us to do. Yet, we also continued to wonder how we were called to be a blessing in the Arlington community. What came next was a surprise to all of us.

While we finished worshipping at the old sanctuary, there was still a lot to do. We donated our organ and pews to other congregations. Choir robes made their way to friends in Cameroon. We picked through what was left, and opened our doors to the community. Once we had what we needed, everything else was fair game. It was a good moment of realizing how much you accumulate when you stand still for too long. We only took the things we needed or that had symbolic value. Being free from the trappings of stuff allowed us to feel free as to what our future may hold as well.