We find the church easily. With a parking lot in front and another in back, I choose the closer one. Only after getting out of our car do I notice the sign labeling the building entrance as “offices.” Looking for alternatives, I spot another sign marked “sanctuary.” To my dismay, it points to the back of the building. With no sidewalk to guide the way and an icy parking lot, I decide it’s better to wander around inside the facility than outside.
We turn back towards the “office” entrance. Seeing a young couple just arriving, I ask if we can enter there. My wife recognizes the young man; he went to school with our kids. The office entrance takes us directly to the back of the sanctuary. Our new friends invite us to sit with them.
After the service they offer a tour of their facility. First, they take us to the welcome area. Had we parked in back, we’d have entered there. Next is the library and then a gym, flanked by classrooms. Around the corner are more rooms and the original sanctuary, which is now the domain of the youth, who have placed their unique stamp on the space. Lastly are the offices, then we return to where we began.
Along the way, we see several friends. Three people ask if we go to church there. The congregation is big enough for them not to know if we’re visitors or regulars.
We thank our tour guides for their kindnesses. Two hours after our arrival, we head for our car, thankful for new acquaintances, reconnection with friends, an engaging time, and a message to contemplate.