Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Seed Dies, but Its Fruit Lives On

The Covenant Office building at 5101 N. Francisco in Chicago will soon be no more. The process of its demolition was announced on CovNews this morning, as illustrated above. Offices into the future are now consolidated at 8303 Higgins Road, out close to O'Hare Airport--a necessary move both for the sake of more room and for the gathering in of several departments that for years have had to be housed elsewhere.

Strange, I thought, that the big backhoe should be entering early on through the window that for many years housed the denomination's department of Church Growth and Evangelism. Thus continues the emergence of the Covenant Church on the American scene, one more step in the journey that years ago as I was grwoing up found its headquarters on Belmont Avenue. The move to 5101 came in the latter years of T.W. Anderson's presidency, where it has thrived through all the years since until now. I knew 5101 well, every part of it, spending 28 years there myself as part of its ministry of publications.

Let honor be given to all that was accomplished there, through later presidencies of Clarence Nelson, Milton Engebretson, Paul Larsen, Glenn Palmberg, and Gary Walter, now continuing in new quarters. And, lest we forget, honor to everyone that was part of those rich days in furthering our common mission. Buildings, however inadeqaute in some ways, leave behind them a sense of place far more important to the soul of a movement than mere brick and mortar.

The seed of all that is falling into the earth, and we must let it go--like every place we have ever inhabited together in our pilgrimage over time. No doubt 8303 West Higgins Road will also pass into memory some day, as will all those now leading us from there. Pray only that the soul of 5101 N. Francisco, as well as the earlier soul on which it fed after the move from Belmont Avenue, will continue to infuse and enrich the soul of the new leadership post now established on our journey together.

The divine/human saga continues in us which began when Father Abraham, believing and trusting in God, went out "to a land he knew not where." In every time since then, we remain no less than he and his seed a pilgrim people, still looking ahead to an ageless place and city whose builder and maker is God.