Confession: I am a lifelong Yorker.
Dad grew up in Elizabethtown in Lancaster. Mom was a Dallastown High School grad. I was born at the York Hospital. We lived in Dallastown, then Winterstown, and then mom and dad moved to East York.
Dad worked at Standard Register Company on Mt. Zion Road. Mom worked for the Visiting Nurse Association in downtown York. They wanted to be closer to their places of work (especially after a few bad winters).
I grew up in York Suburban School District, walked to school for most of grades 2-8, and took the bus to York Suburban High School.
Becky grew up in the East York area as well, but went to Central High School.
After graduating from seminary, I moved into the city of York (cheap rent). When Becky and I were first married we lived on North Pershing Avenue (a pretty rough place then) and then moved to Dallas Street, one of the last streets on the east end to still be in the City of York. We spent 10 years living in the city.
For a few short years we moved to the east side of Central School District, bordering on Hellam Township.
We moved to upstate New York for seven long, cold winters. When we moved back, we moved to Northeastern School District, and lived in the development right beside John Rudy Park. And last year, after Matt graduated from college and moved out, Becky and I downsized to a condo and moved to the east end of York Suburban School District, but very near the city.
Trivia Fact: Suburban, Central, and Northeastern all have the same school colors (but Suburban wears them best)!
When Becky’s sister and family moved back to York, after they spent a career in the military, they landed in the Shrewsbury area.
I have traveled all over the world. I have been in almost 60 countries, and some of those countries 12 to 15 times, but, to borrow an old phrase: There’s no place like home. Or, as the book I referred to yesterday said, No Home Like Place!
Living Word Community Church has always been involved in the community of York County and in the City of York. Our leadership team wants to be even more involved.
We want Living Word to become a Community Center. How can we serve the city/county? How can we create space that is inviting and welcoming for those who are not inclined to visit a church? How can we work alongside so many really good organizations who are doing so much to improve life in York? We are seeking partnerships with many others, but close partnerships with a few core organizations.
We want to see York County flourish. In the words of Acts 1:8, this is our Jerusalem and our Judea; our home, our family, our city, our county. We are here for them. (LOCAL in BLUE is York County)
Obviously, we want people to find Christ, and in finding Christ, find all the spiritual, emotional, moral, intellectual, and relational resources they need to FLOURISH.
And we also want those in need to find compassion from those who name the name of Jesus. We want to work for the welfare of the city (read Jeremiah 29:4-7). We want to work for peace, justice, economic well being, racial relationships, good jobs, and good schools (which are free from the threat of violence).
I never stop thinking about What the World Needs Now. (That is our new Sunday morning series that begins on March 4.) It needs a lot, and there is a lot we can provide.
But I start close to home, What York Needs Now.
This is my home, my family, my community, my friends, my calling, my heart, my place.
By God’s grace, may we together build York into a place many more want to call home.
P.S. I am not recommending this book, unless you are ready for a really deep reading experience, but it is a great book: The Home We Build Together by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. It contains profound, pastoral, prophetic, philosophic, and political musings by one of the great thought leaders of our time. I won’t complain at all if a few of you want to dive into it.