When Pastor Scott and I first started talking about my internship for this year, I was really convinced that part of my internship should include some commitment to try and get to know the neighbors who live directly around the church. For those of you who have never been to Lakeridge Lutheran Church, it is the quintessential neighborhood church. It is buried in the middle of an unincorporated territory and is encircled by block after block of residential homes overlooking Lake Washington to the East and Renton to the West. Almost 90% of the congregation lives within a half mile of the church, and many of the congregants were also some of the first residents of the neighborhood. Coming from the techno-nomadic generation that I do, you can probably begin to imagine how odd and intriguing such a community might be for me.
This past Wednesday I finally carried out my original intention of getting to know the neighborhood. A member of the congregation and I went around to a few homes and met some of our neighbors. I was really thankful for my companion, Velma, who is a very firm believer in the old saying that strangers are merely friends one hasn’t met yet. She brought a lightness to this project and a sense of hospitality that I couldn’t have managed on my own. However, what I was most struck by was the grace of everyone that we talked with. In many cases, the church’s neighbors were able to tell me things about the church that I haven’t heard about yet, even after having been there for over a month. One of our neighbors told me about a star that used to be hung from the cross attached to the roof of the church during the Christmas season. She told Velma and I her memories of standing on a boat waiting for a New Year’s Eve fireworks show to begin and looking up into the darkness to see that star shining brightly up on the hill above Renton.
The kinds of conversations that I was able to have and the stories that I heard, served to remind me that we belong to each other. Lakeridge Lutheran Church belongs to the neighborhood of Lakeridge and Lakeridge belongs to the congregation of Lakeridge Lutheran Church. I could make say why this is an important thing to remember, but maybe I will let the reader draw out the theological implications this time. Feel free to comment below and let us know what you think.
Jon Glenn is the intern pastor for the 2011-2012 school year. He enjoys theological conversation, a good beer or cup of coffee, rock climbing, hiking and taking long breaks from his school work to spend time with his friends and his girlfriend Melissa. His favorite ideal is hope which he longs to inspire in others.