When I was growing up, my home church was St. Christopher's in Plaistow, NH. That's after St. Christopher's moved from Kingston, before it moved to Hampstead.
This year is that church's 50th anniversary. And this week, my parents and I are headed out to beautiful Hampstead to see the place and go to church and enjoy some lunch with them.
We moved away in 1985. But before we moved, that place had a pretty big part in my spiritual and social development. Yeah, yeah, Sunday School and whatnot. But by the time we moved away, I was well into my angsty middle school days, was unhappy and confused in school. And St. Christopher's was a place with kids I liked. There were supportive and consistent adults. And there was a youth group filled with people who might well have been bad influences as we got older*, but through my eighth grade year, they were cool, and kind, and liked me, and respected me when I stood up to peer pressure. Not bad, right?
I assume it'll be weird to go back again, especially because it won't actually be "back" and there won't be a lot of folks there we knew — 27 years is a long time. But, gotta say, I'm pretty excited.
Day 28 of my month of gratitude: I am thankful to have had such a right community for me in my youth, and thankful to celebrate 50 years of their ministry to others like me. I'm also thankful to have had reason, as a child, to hear the story of St. Christopher. If you don't know it, you should read it; it's like the opposite of that "Footprints" thing.
*I clearly remember at least one of my youth group buddies dressing as a pack of Marlboros for a church Halloween party. In middle school.