It has been pretty amazing to be a foundational partner in the building of this beautiful community that has become Collective MKE. Never in a church have I felt such a part of things, big and small, that shape the way the church has chosen to grow and the causes we pursue. As I've alluded to several times, the unconventional nature of our church was, at one time, kind of intimidating. That uncertainty was swept away after our first meeting and I have come to look forward to our church gatherings like I never have.
As much as it has been great to be part of the core group, I also find it fun as an observer as well. For instance, last night we had a "Fall Fest" event at Claude and Amy's place. Being true to one of the four tenets of our church, it was a potluck event with lots of great food and drink. Brats, hot dogs, side dishes, and a chance to sample both a micro brewery and home brewed beer.
The best part of the potluck is always the conversations and the relationship-building interactions that come out of sharing food together. A few times I looked around and there were five or six conversations going on at once. It was people talking about their jobs, their kids, this church and all that God is doing in their lives. Meanwhile the kids ran around and played with one another while their parents chatted and tended to their needs as things came up.
And, for myself, it was a good chance to catch up with a few people that I only see once a month. I always look forward to re-connecting with those from the "Klemowits House". I had the chance to connect with:
- New faces - Jose brought his wife and daughter. He is one of the guys that comes to our impromptu Thursday coffee hour. He is not part of Collective MKE in an official capacity, but has taken part in the Pub Theology and Thursday coffee enough to feel to all of us like he is part of us. We welcome all, regardless of where you are in your faith and it was so good to see him, meet his family and hear more of his story.
- Old faces: A couple of people and their three kids that I have not seen in a couple of months as they continue to seek out where their ultimate church home is. There is a comfort in old friends - even relatively new-old friends - that Collective MKE fosters.
- Young faces - Joel, one of the younger men (compared to me at least, LOL) in our group. He is an interesting guy who has recently travelled to Peru. We've talked a few times and last night he chatted with me about my writing for a bit. I was surprised that he remembered my background and thought to bring it up. Collective fosters this sort of relationship over and over. People interested and involved in the lives of others.
- More - I felt like I got to know a relative newcomer, Ben, a bit more last night and this morning at Barrett House. A quiet demeanor, but deep faith and a fascinating story of his faith journey too. I also got to chat at length with Becky about her writing pursuits. She and I attend the same writing studio, and it was fun sharing our war stories of writing and all the joy and angst that goes along with it.
And to top it all off, this morning we had a visitor, Deborah, who showed up at Barrett House to check out Collective MKE. She has her own interesting faith journey and fit in like she'd been coming since the inception. I don't know if that's a credit to her or to Collective MKE, but I'm glad it happened.
I am so excited about where this church is going and am looking forward to this week's Town Hall meeting so we can talk, share, plan and rejoice in all of it.