Opening thoughts

Sometimes human beings are lucky enough to have physical homes made of brick & mortar, sometimes they are not. This month, we invite you to explore concepts of Home that may or may not include a physical abode.

Chalice Lighting
The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.
~ Maya Angelou

Check-in Share briefly what’s been on your mind lately or your highs and lows since we last met.


A Thought to Ponder
Originally home meant the center of the world – not in a geographical, but in an ontological sense. A sense of being. Home was the place from which the world could be founded. A home was established ‘at the heart of the real’.
In traditional societies, everything that made sense of the world was real; the surrounding chaos existed and was threatening but it was threatening because it was unreal. Without a home at the center of the real, one was not only shelterless, but also lost in non-being, in unreality. Without a home, everything was fragmentation.
Home was the center of the world because it was the place where the vertical line crossed with the horizontal line. The vertical line was a path leading upwards to the sky and downwards to the underworld. The horizontal line represented the traffic of the world, all possible roads leading across the earth to other places. Thus, at home, one was nearest to the gods in the sky and to the dead in the underworld. This nearness promised access to both. And at the same time, one was at the starting point and hopefully, the returning point of all terrestrial journeys.
~ John Berger (writer & art critic)


Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.
~ James Baldwin

Home is the nicest word there is.
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

Peace – that was the other name for home.
~ Kathleen Norris

Architects may come and
Architects may go and
Never change your point of view.
~ Simon & Garfunkel (So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright)

A Home Song
I read within a poet’s book
A word that starred the page:
“Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage!”

Yes, that is true; and something more
You’ll find, where’er you roam,
That marble floors and gilded walls
Can never make a home.

But every house where Love abide,
And Friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home-sweet-home:
For there the heart can rest.

~ Henry Van Dyke (author & theologian, born in Germantown)

There’s no place like home.
~ Dorothy Gale (The Wizard of Oz)


Spiritual Exercises

1) Create Home where you currently reside – Feng Shui your living space, burn sage to clear the space’s energy. Find a place where you can set up a spiritual nook, a place for self-nourishing, with things that feed your spirit – candles, a chalice, music, chimes, books; anyplace that is solely for you and your fulfillment. (See last page for information on Feng Shui)

2) Create Home at USG – Many people, when looking for a church community, hope to find what Maya Angelou calls “the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned”. How can we make newcomers as well as long-time members feel that this is that safe place? This month and the months beyond, do something that creates this safe place for others. Host Fellowship Hour, go out of your way to get to know visitors, see how you can help the Community Council make the church space more welcoming.

3) Create Home Inside Your Soul – On your own or in your group, follow this Spiritual Exercise from writer Martha Beck.  “We come home in the material world when we come to the truth and liberation of our real selves. First, remember a time when, even if only for a moment, you felt safe and loved enough to relax your defenses and let go of your fears. Remember a time when you could breathe a long sigh of relief, knowing that in that moment, nothing would harm you, nothing would shame you, and there was nothing to guard against. Hold that moment in your memory until it fills your mind and becomes your present moment.” Do this whenever you feel the need to reconnect with your inner peace.

4) Help Create a Home for Others – Mark your calendar to help with ReBuilding Philly in the Spring, volunteer with Habitat for Humanity or the Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network (


Questions for Contemplation

1)      What is Home for you? Is it a place, is it a feeling, is it a memory?

2)      Reflecting on the chalice lighting by Maya Angelou, where or when have you experienced this feeling of home? Do you have a place (or places) right now in your life where you experience home?

3)      How has having a Home (explored in question 1), whether a physical residence, spiritual or other community, helped you to grow or make changes in your life?

Sitting In Silence Take a few moments to sit quietly and reflect upon your thoughts.

Sharing/Deep Listening  Respond with your thoughts/experiences with the topic.

Reflection This is a time to supportively respond to something another person said or relate additional thoughts that have occurred to you as others shared.



Blue Boat Home #1064
Words by Peter Mayer, music by Rowland Huw Prichard

Though below me, I feel no motion
Standing on these mountains and plains
Far away from the rolling ocean
Still my dry land heart can say
I’ve been sailing all my life now
The wide universe is the ocean I travel
And the earth is my blue boat home

Sun, my sail, and moon my rudder
As I ply the starry sea
Leaning over the edge in wonder
Casting questions into the deep
Drifiting here with my ship’s companions
All we kindred pilgrim souls
Making our way by the lights of the heavens
In our beautiful blue boat home

I give thanks to the waves upholding me
Hail the great winds urging me on
Greet the infinite sea before me
Sing the sky my sailor’s song
I was born upon the fathoms
Never harbor of port have I known
The wide universe is the ocean I travel
And the earth is my blue boat home.

Extinguishing the Chalice

If light is in your heart
You will find your way home again.
~ Rumi

Additional Resources

Feng Shui, in a nutshell:  Feng (wind) Shui (water) is an ancient art and science developed over 3,000 years ago in China. It is a complex body of knowledge that reveals how to balance the energies of any given space to assure health and good fortune for people inhabiting it. In Chinese culture, wind and water are associated with good health, thus good feng shui came to mean good fortune. (from