Psalm 122:8-9 (New Revised Standard Version):
For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, "Peace be within you." For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your good.
What would you do? If your brother or sister suddenly found themselves without a place to live, what would you do?
When I was a little girl, I lived within a couple of miles of most of my mom’s immediate relatives. Except for an aunt who married an Army man and moved wherever Uncle Sam said to go, everyone lived near us. Mom’s mother lived with us, and her brother and one of her sisters lived just a mile or so away. That means I grew up near most of my maternal cousins, and we saw each other almost every day.
I remember that when I was in elementary school my aunt’s house burned in the middle of the night. So, suddenly, in the middle of the night, we gained seven people in our circa-1898 farmhouse. Needless to say, while our family of six had lived there comfortably with one spare guest room, suddenly, in the middle of the night, we were bursting at the seams.
For the first couple of nights, it was fun as all the cousins were flung into a perpetual sleepover. We stayed up talking and laughing, getting in trouble for whispering and giggling after the lights were out. But pretty soon, the reality set in that my cousins would be living with us for awhile, until they could get on their feet and get a place of their own.
But we were family, so we did what families do. We made the best of it, and pretty soon we were in a routine and were learning to live with someone else in our house. Saying "no" to them moving in with us was not an option. Simply put, family takes care of family.
So, when Covington First United Methodist Church was approached with an opportunity to help someone out, I thought back to my aunt and our helping her family through a hard situation. I remembered that simple lesson: Family takes care of family.
One of our sister churches in the area was under the threat of becoming homeless because of circumstances beyond the congregation’s control. After many conversations with the Conference and with church leaders, Covington First UMC decided to do what families do — to care for our sister church until she can get on her own feet. So, beginning Dec. 8 at 11 a.m., the Connexion Church — a new United Methodist congregation — will begin to meet in the Wesley Chapel of Covington First UMC. One day, Connexion members will be able to move out to their own space. But, in the meantime, we have done what families do: We have provided them a place to call home until their new home is found.
We know it’s temporary, and we know that God is growing the Connexion Church to be a vital congregation that enjoys contemporary-style casual worship.
We hope that we will be good hosts as we welcome them as family Dec. 8. Please come help us say welcome to our baby sister — a new church — and her family. And please pray for CFUMC and the Connexion Church as we partner together to fulfill the mission of the church: "To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."
Who do you need to welcome this Christmas? Are you making room for God to do something great in your life this Christmas? Make room for Jesus in the inn of your heart.
The Rev. Jan McCoy. associate pastor of Covington First United Methodist Church. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at www.covingtonfirst.org.