Having grown up in Natick, I’m so excited to join Open Spirit as an intern this fall as a second-year student in the three year Master of Divinity program – the so-called professional degree for ministers.
I attended the Mosaic dedication a couple weeks back and feel this was a wonderful way to experience Welcome at Open Spirit. The art of mosaic calls up rich symbolism and material process. Handing out pamphlets, participating in the program, and helping set up the space, I had a chance to see Open Spirit a bit in the form of a mosaic – pieces of what goes on here.
Once broken, a vessel cannot be experienced whole and undamaged again. Still, the mosaic makes a new whole. “By definition,” Melissa M. Kelley writes, “the mosaic is always more than the pieces. Its beauty lies precisely in the whole that emerges from the fragments, a whole that is greater, fuller, and richer than the sum of the parts.” Dedicated to and inspired by the life and memory of Florence Sachs, Open Spirit’s new Welcome mosaic invites us to honor her laughter and the many lives and traditions that come together at this place. This mosaic reminds us of the way that laughter and shared stories make open hearts and arms, inviting us of the dynamic values and contributions that help us welcome one another and the many beautiful and broken parts of ourselves.
This physical symbol of welcome represents many faiths that we make space for at Open Spirit, the life that we all share with one another, and the unique parts that make up the whole of divine creation.
The tremendous mystery and unknown is an important foundation for my theological understanding. In it we might offer together our pieces of recognition, of collaboration and individual insight attuned to what I might call the Holy or creative Spirit. Designs of artists in our midst, hands together that create tangible or experienced representations of values and priorities of what is in our hearts – I am thankful to be joining this special place where this work is valued for the healing, holding, and transformation through welcome and care.
Over 50 people gathered on to hear music, prayers, blessings, reflections, and updates from the podium – songs for peace, messages of community support for the work of Open Spirit, introductions of the people who put their labor into creating the multi-faith Welcome mosaic – and to share a meal together. I was glad to hear much noise in the hall, and watch as folks stayed well beyond the scheduled end-time for the event (a mark of good company)! I look forward to getting to know many of you in the months ahead, and embrace the spirit of Welcome as a value we share, cultivate, and nurture in this multi-faith spiritual community.
 Melissa M. Kelly. Grief: Contemporary Theory and the Practice of Ministry. Fortress Press, MN: 139.