When considering the concept of community at the Sycamore House, we generally think about 3 main communities that we are a part of: the house itself, the Cathedral, and the city of Harrisburg. Sounds simple enough. But if we think about it more deeply, those 3 communities encompass a lot.
Our immediate neighbors here on Front Street are unique- it’s the Cathedral and its many congregation members who come on Sundays and are in and out on various days of the week, working on volunteer projects, maintaining our beautiful, historic buildings, attending mid-week services. And of course, our diligent staff, led by our Acting Dean, Amy Welin. It’s St. Stephen’s School (or, currently, summer program)- kids from preschool to 8th grade from all areas of the city and beyond, laughing, singing, and learning. It’s the Diocese office- their staff, our Bishop Audrey Scanlan, and of course, the office kitten.
Looking a little further down the street- it’s the men and women experiencing tough times, and sometimes homelessness who gather for meals down the street by the bus station, or stop by the school’s “box of free stuff” where students leave items they no longer need for someone else who might use them. It’s the law office next door, the bar and restaurants around the corner, the men and women in suits briskly walking to work, lunch, or on a break by the river. It’s the families and individuals stuck in cycles of poverty all around the city. It’s the refugees from Puerto Rico that have flowed into Harrisburg after Hurricane Maria, like many places around the U.S., or those from Syria fleeing conflict and atrocious situations in their home country. It’s the immigrants and refugees from Cameroon and other African countries who form the Center for African Immigrants and meet in local churches.
Being a neighbor to all of these people is a calling, and it may mean different things for each house. As we begin to prepare to welcome a new group of Sycamore House Corps Members in August, we will join together to ask the question that was asked so long ago: Who is my neighbor? And we will spend a year journeying to answer it and the implications that go with it.
Peace to all on similar journeys in your respective communities,