The Jesuit poet Gerard Manly Hopkins beautifully described our world as "charged with the grandeur of God." In another poem he described Christ as the one who "plays in ten thousand places." What a wonderful image!
We get to find and join Christ at play in our place, one of those ten thousand places, the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia—bounded by the Alleghany mountains in the West and Masanutten Mountain in the East.
Settled by the Pennsylvania Dutch and the Scotch-Irish, Harrisonburg was historically a homogeneous rural community with an agriculture-based economy. Over the past two decades, with the growth of James Madison University and the introduction of many immigrants and refugees into the region, the area has become ethnically diverse and the economy has moved toward education, manufacturing, service, and technology. The shift has been dramatic. For example, during the past fifteen years, ESL enrollment in Harrisonburg City Schools has skyrocketed from 4% to 41%!
We intend to be deeply rooted in these few square miles. As agents of God's Kingdom, embodying His Kingdom here—in this place!—our hope is to see the joy and peace of that kingdom come to our city and Valley as it is filled with worshipers of the triune God and the renewing presence of Christ in our culture (Revelation 22:1-5).