Today, the demolition of our congregation’s kitchen begins. It’s going to be a major disruption—let’s be honest, it already has been. The conversation about the kitchen was alive well before I arrived five years ago to Christ on Capitol Hill (Saint Paul, Minnesota), my fourth call. It grew to a more real conversation when we learned of a large bequest in 2015 and actually received it in 2017. It grew to reality as we launched the Welcome Table Capital Campaign in coordination with the congregation’s 150thAnniversary last fall. Now, we’ve taken out the Mission Investment Fund loan and today, after so much waiting and planning, nail-biting and preparing, the demolition begins.
There have been anxieties all along the way of this disruption to manage and right now, the contents of our kitchen are all displaced, not to mention the choir music (that was once in a nearby storage space), and the youth room (where part of the HVAC system needs to be disrupted). There will be a dumpster in the staff parking spaces, and no one is exactly sure how we’d handle a funeral lunch over the next four months… but we welcome this day with excitement, too, because the mess of change is finally here and because we trust that God is leading us into all this mess for a reason.
We enter into this opportunity because of larger patterns of disruption. Beyond our little part of the world, we see massive disruption and it weighs heavy on us. We sit across the street from the Minnesota State Capitol where decision-makers are making hard decisions every day that affect the whole state. On the other end of the block, our most marginalized neighbors are living in a food desert. With the Saint Paul Area Synod, we are attempting to address the hunger for workable relationships and basic necessities through Shobi’s Table, a pay-as-you-can food truck that intends to gather marginalized neighbors and state workers around tables of food from Frogtown Farms (an urban garden just blocks from church). As the weather grows colder, the food sharing moves indoors into our Gathering Space. So here, too, we will experience disruption of our quiet routines because rather than them wandering through, we’ll be actively inviting neighbors in. We’ll eat together and our stereotypes will be disrupted. We’ll hear stories that we’ll want to share around our kitchen tables. Do you know who I met today? A 46-year-old who survived a car crash that broke 84 bones in her body… and cancer, three times. Talk about tenacity!
This is why we Share Life. We need each other through the disruptions. We need to know each other’s stories of surviving disruptions, of strength and tenacity. We need to share the bread and cup around storytelling tables because as we do, we notice how Jesus has been showing up in so many ways in all of our days. God has given what we need… all we need is here.
A graduate of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) in 2001, Joy has served congregations in Wisconsin and Minnesota, was briefly a campus pastor, served as admissions director at LSTC for five years and served as interim in two congregations. She has an Ecumenical Doctor of Ministry in Practical Theology: Spirituality from the Catholic Theological Union (2012). She is currently the pastor of Christ on Capitol Hill in Saint Paul, Minnesota and was part of the Twin Cities Macedonian Ministries Cohort. All of the places she has served have always been navigating significant transitions including moving toward greater diversity, inclusion and sense of mission. Her second full-time job together with Ben is parenting three children (16, 12 and 3) and finding ways to creatively engage for a just and abundant community. She is a writer, musician and loves art in many forms.