As a “PK” (preacher’s kid), I have spent my entire life in the church in one capacity or another, employed by the church since the age of 19 save for my senior year in college when I worked in a restaurant and tended bar. (Best college job ever!) Leaving the safety of that em
ployment after 46 years was no small step for sure, but I drew comfort from moving my office after 29 years at First Christian Church in the heart of Eugene down the street two blocks to First United Methodist Church where we converted a classroom into the SOV office. Especially in December, with the familiar sights and sounds of Advent ever present, I feel right at home.
We cannot underestimate the importance of “home” to the mental, spiritual and physical well-being of each of us. In my one and only trip to the Israel, the importance of a place to call home was made over and over, regardless of whose home we were or about whom we spoke. One experience in particular stood out for me. As chance would have it, I had a personal connection with the birth place of Jesus through a friend who operates a restaurant just two blocks away from our office in Eugene. I must visit his brother and nieces in Bethlehem, he told me. So the arrangements were made and I arrived at the appointed place, expecting to meet the family at his brother’s home. Instead, I found myself being escorted not only to his home, but to the home of each niece where either a meal or coffee and pastries were served to their American guest. I learned something that day about the importance of hospitality in the Middle East and welcoming a stranger into one’s home. Aside from all the geo-political issues and conflict over the land, this was their home, with roots that went back centuries, and that sense of home goes much deeper than even the foundations of a house.
The work we do at SquareOne is not just about shelter and housing, it is about a place to call home, a place where you can be a host or where you can have your privacy, a place where you know you belong and you can feel secure and comfortable in your surroundings. Home is also that place you come back to for the holidays to be with family, as I did for so many years and now also so do my children. We feel that a home for every person is so important that we made it central to our vision, recently adopted by our Board of Directors, striving for a world where everyone lives with dignity in a stable, inclusive, and eco-friendly place to call home.
Wherever that place is for you, may this holiday season be one where you feel right at home, filled with the sights, sounds and aromas that give you comfort and cheer. We give thanks to you and so many others for helping us to make such a place to call home a reality for others.
- Dan Bryant