Growing up, I attended St. John's Episcopal Church in Lancaster, PA. It is located in the city on a beautiful street with very large, soaring oak trees and going there was always my favorite thing to do each week. I loved going to church and parking out front and walking down the brick sidewalk under the changing leaves and up the steps into my beautiful, red brick church. As I am living in Philadelphia, I still love to watch the leaves change and I love going out for walks and runs through old, historic Germantown.
Even though I am still getting a great taste of fall, there is still something missing. Today I realized that I miss the corn that’s starting to go out of season change colors. I miss the look of my street at home with all the old, Victorian homes and the changing leaves. I miss carving pumpkins with my family and friends. I miss drinking apple cider from the market downtown. I miss a lot of things, but I miss my Sunday mornings the most. I am “church homesick.”
Out of everything I left at home, I miss my church the most. St. John's has been my home for 14 years. It is the parish that formed me and shaped me. They have supported me through all I have done in the Church as well as serving as my spiritual home. I cannot tell you how many times I had tears in my eyes because of the Spirit moving within me. I have been touched by so many people at St. John's and I can't even begin to express my gratitude to them.
Do not ever underestimate the impact you can have on the spiritual formation of any of the children and youth in your parish. When I was baptized at St. John's, the parish community vowed to support me in my Christian life with all their power, and I can definitely say they have. Be that one person who changes the life of someone in your parish and in your life. You will be thankful for it.
I am church homesick. I miss my home parish of St. John's. I cannot wait until I am home for Thanksgiving just so I can go back to church and finally walk down that red brick sidewalk under the tall oak trees with the changing leaves and finally feel that feeling of being home. I know I will always be welcomed with beaming smiles and loving hugs. I know my home will be anxiously awaiting my arrival back just as they do for everyone who walks out the church doors on any given Sunday. That is what St. John's is—a true example of loving your neighbor as yourself.
David Kilp is the Youth Ministry Assistant for EYE for the Diocese of Pennsylvania. He is also a member of DioPA's Servant Year program.