Almost two years ago when Amanda and I set out on this journey to create the Village Exchange Center, among the first we talked to was Joe Horther who generously welcomed us and shared his wisdom and support. Joe talked about creating a space of belonging. Then and now, it could not be put more simply and be more comprehending, a space of belonging.
VEC’s mission and our motif tonight of “I belong and I am powerful” is all about the power of a human being, a power that is birthed only from within genuine relationships in the life of community, the life of belonging, and it is a power whose homeward direction is oriented for the life of community to create belonging for others. The true power of each person, each community and culture and faith, is unique and unrepeatable. And because we belong to one another, we need one another, and we are mutually enriched by one another. We learn from the other what we could not have known if we had stayed walled up in our isolation. Our understanding is, unshakably, that our unity is precisely in our diversity. It is the other, as other, who nevertheless belongs to us, and thereby blesses and enriches us.
Our blessing this evening is characterized by this space of belonging. There is a beautiful spirituality behind the traditions of blessing. Blessing first of all calls us to mindfulness and awareness, to a shared recognition of something good, something giving life, which we affirm and ask to continue in our midst, into fruition. Blessing engages us to the substance of what we hold most precious, and so it is an expression of our freedom which also releases our freedom, orients and secures it, and grows our freedom. In that way engaged, blessing births the goodness and grace in our midst.
And so tonight, good people, let us seek blessing, and ask God to bless all of us, all the communities represented here, and to bless the Village Exchange Center, to continue to grow the good things in this space, to bless our unity and to bless our diversity, to bless all our accompaniments with one another in all things human, in our joys and celebrations and in our sorrows and struggles, that we may ever grow in the sources of grace given in our belongings and empowerments. God bless our time together, for the life of the world.
Rev. Marcel Narucki
Director of Multi-Faith Services
Village Exchange Center