We have a great new team here led by Dr. Anne! In our van rides to and from our various locations of ministry for the day, we have time to chat. I find myself introducing new individuals to the work of SewHope at these times.
Yesterday the topic of Dr. Anne's last trip here came up. At that time, our team traveled 5 hours to San Cristobal to a hospital where Dr. Anne and other team members had planned to perform surgeries on women. In the course of the description of this trip, I said: "It was just a building." And in saying those words aloud, it struck me.
We often talk about a church building being just a building. That is, that the People of God are the important part and the real part of Church. But, do we act that way? Just as the hospital in San Cristobal, which had no medical supplies with which to perform surgeries, was just a building (Dr. Anne had to bring every last item that would be needed down to the tiniest thing), so, our church buildings are really not the heart and soul of Church.
However, do we spend as much time, effort and money in literally dressing the People of God as we do dressing up our church buildings? How can we better put our words into real action?
In the course of that conversation, we noted that even here, the churches are some of the most well constructed and decorated buildings. There is a new church being built almost in the middle of the huge market area (which is an awesome idea!), but the design is incredible for this place. There is a fifth church building being built in Purushila. It is exceedingly extravagant compared to the houses in the area. Really, has anyone thought about this? Does this small village really need another church...and one that looks like this?
The faith of the people is so deep in the heart of the people here. No building is needed for Church, for God, for Jesus (by whatever name) to be present. When I get to the pearly gates and meet Saint Peter, I am sure that he is not going to ask me the proverbial "mathematical train question". I am not so sure, however, that he will not ask "the Church question".
Sr. Pam Buganski
Sr. Pam joined SewHope as our first American Project Coordinator in 2012