I’d like to share a photograph of the gift my husband and daughter presented to me for my birthday on the 24th of May, along with a poem I had written about the same subject: Building Eight at the Factory in Franklin Tennessee. It’s where God found us. Our church. Journey Church. We’d never gone to church regularly in all our thirty-seven years of marriage. We went occasionally on Christmas Eve, the kids and hubs kicking and screaming most of the time.
In 2007 our adult daughter and her dog moved in with us while a mysterious illness started to attack her body. We had a tornado shelter installed in the garage and agreed to show it to any potential customers for the shelter company. One couple wanted to see it. Bob and Amy. They came, saw our daughter’s obscure little dog and said, “Is that an Affenpinscher?” Really? They had one. “Do you have MS?” That was a suspicion of doctors. Amy had MS. We all became friends and Gretchen agreed to go to church with them. Odd. Very odd. After a few months she asked us to go. We declined. A lot. She begged. “Go for me.” Fine. That was 2008 and Journey Church. We’ve never looked back.
Church is in flux right now. Searching for a new home. The Factory is reinventing itself and we are not part of the plan. I’ve written a poem about Building Eight and the memories it carries for many of us. My daughter took a photograph of the inside where we were loved and allowed to sit, ask questions, disagree, cry, sing and find Christ over the years. A friend from church turned the photo into a painting. Here are the painting and poem:
Remembering Building 8
Journey Church, The Factory in Franklin
By Susie Dunham
What is this place once filled with the trust of a paycheck and food on the table,
where lunch pails held coffee thermos’ and dreams,
and men told stories of family and faith in good times and bad?
What is this place now filled with rails and chains and pulleys and rust,
walls of brick mortared with the sweat of decades of work days and,
floors where ghosts resided in bird filth knee-high?
What is this place where sweat, love, hope, and grace has lived,
this place where voices and instruments blazon the story of Love,
where the Spirit has danced and held us if only for a breath?
Where is this place after the rust and brick are surrendered,
where the sanctuary, the safe haven, the church will live,
where souls will heal and awaken to God’s love and joy?
Ah, poise is warranted, for our God has much work to do in our world.
We will trust.
We will be patient.
We will never forget.