You probably didn’t notice that I skipped out on church this past Sunday.

July is like that. Many of us try to get away for a few days. I went home to Pittsburgh to visit my family during a ridiculously humid 4th of July week: 90+ degrees with 87% humidity. I never stopped sweating. My brother has a pool in his back yard and a great viewing area for fireworks. All in all, Kristy and I had a delightful trip.

I’m originally from a small town outside of Pittsburgh, where I lived for 18 years. But I’ve been a Coloradan for 22 years, so, sometimes I get confused about where “home” actually exists for me. Our small town had no stop lights, 4 churches, 3 bars, a general store, and a population of 663. Our town, “Hill Station,” was the ‘coal mining station on the hill.’ No joke. And yep: I’m a coal-miner’s daughter. I come from 5 generations of Morgans living in Hill Station. There is something special about going back, being in all that familiar summer humidity, baseball (the Pirates of course!), and the feel of the green, green grass of home.

There’s no place like home! But I’ve been gone for 39 years… Colorado is my true home now. I’m closer to my “true self” here than I could have been when I was younger. I have deep roots in Denver. And I have Highlands Church. There’s nothing like Highlands Church anywhere near Pittsburgh. I wish my family had access to a church like ours. God is there with them of course, but they don’t go to church and most of them wish they could.

My family is spiritually hungry, but they have nowhere to wrestle with their doubts and questions. My family has faith, but nowhere to deepen it. My family wants to experience Christ, but they can no longer attend a church that doesn’t believe fully in the wide-embrace of God for all people.

The presence of Christ is all around us, everywhere, even in Pittsburgh. But a church community is often what sustains people in their connectedness to God and a church is where many people find belonging and purpose. I felt wistful while I was away. Even being back home and enjoying my family, still, I missed our Highlands-Church-life-together.

She was right—Dorothy Gale that is, from The Wizard of Oz. There really is no place like home. I’m glad to be back. I hope you sense the presence of God this summer at church and when you’re able to get away.

Grateful for our community and our low humidity,

Jenny