The Tie that Binds Banner

A few years ago, I attended the funeral of one of the longest-serving “volunteers” for Church Street. I can’t say at Church Street … because he wasn’t in Knoxville. He was the spouse of our caretaker at Sterchi Lodge and served alongside her for 43 years as our welcoming hosts. Roy loved playing and singing bluegrass and gospel music, frequently entertaining guests at the Lodge. In celebrating his life, a bluegrass quartet sang a song that has come to live in my heart … and encapsulates for me the reason I choose to serve my church by standing at a doorway.

           I believe at least for me

           I’ll see my Mom and Dad

           My brothers and my sisters

           And everywhere you look are friends

           Oh, the greetings will be precious

           From those we’ve loved so dear

           But mortal man has never heard

           The likes of when he hears

           Welcome home, I knew you’d come

           Welcome home, you’re here for good

           Look around, was it worth the wait

           Welcome home, step thru the gate

                                               “Welcome Home” by the Gospel Plowboys

Months after the funeral, I was asked to be a greeter at church. Seemed like God heard my new favorite song and was giving me the opportunity to serve in a unique way.

As I take my place in the Welcome Center on Sundays, I think about the people I may see that day. The families I knew growing up in this church, people I have met since I moved back after 35 years away, UT students checking out that “other” beacon on a hallowed hill, and visitors from here and away.

Each person is an opportunity to affirm my faith in the wonderful variety of God’s children and rejoice in how we are all tied together by a common desire to gather in His presence. As I greet people with “Hello”, “Good Morning” and “Nice to see you,” I sometimes slip in a “Welcome Home”. The look on their face changes from confusion to comprehension, then a radiant smile and a little nod … acknowledging that they are indeed home for good.

Kit Brown, Church Street Member and Greeter Coordinator, whose Sunday School class (Open Door) is pictured above at Sterchi Lodge in the Fall of 2022.