people & places of refuge

thanks all for the love and prayers for jonas. his leg is healing well, jose’s home, the dog’s hives are gone & i am doing what i can to get that horrible image that so many of you peeked at online out of my head.

meanwhile, this is a fun week in the life of our little crazy refuge community–tomorrow night, saturday november 1st, we are moving to a new venue for our weekend gathering.  since our community formed in april of 2006 we have gathered corporately in 3 different locations.   this will be our fourth.   i think in so many ways it’s been good for us because it has forced us to not rely on a building in any way, shape or form.  we haven’t had an office or a telephone line or a permanent address and we’ve learned we can definitely get by without one.  we meet in coffee shops & houses & all kinds of weird places during the week and have rented different spaces to use for our weekend gathering.  somehow people find us, or we find them, and the refuge is much more of a network of relationships than a time and place and building with four walls.  still, we have needed a container to meet and have always known that the last thing we want to spend money on is rent.  the needs in our community are too great and to us rent for use of a building is a big waste of resource.  so we’ve been praying that somehow, some way, God would show us what we were supposed to do next.

we got a beautiful answer: an old grange hall that had become essentially unused with a next-to-nothing rental fee.  it’s perfect for the refuge–off the beaten path, on the wrong side of the railroad tracks, in the old part of town where there are aging houses next to junkyards next to nice office buildings.  it’s definitely the right metaphor.  a real unexpected, unlikely gem.  a lovely, worn farmhouse with charm & space & a sort of unspoken sign on the door that says “i am meant to be used again. fill me up with love & laughter & food & friends.”

for us, it’s just another special place of refuge.  there are several others during the week that meet in houses & coffee shops–safety zones where anyone can come anytime, just how they are, and find friends who are seeking God and change and purpose and life. afterward, we all have to go back to our real lives, our real battles, but hopefully some of what God fills us up with when we are together lingers & gives us strength and hope and a desire to live out the ways of Jesus in really tangible ways.  the word refuge means “a place of shelter, protection or safety”.  that has always been my hope, that our community would be known as people & places of refuge. as people, we can be a refuge for others, friends who offer love & “shelter” & help & hope & light in the circles we live in.   this has absolutely nothing to do with weekly gatherings.  however, i do think that places of refuge may increase the likelihood we’ll become people of refuge.  that’s why i believe firmly in the gathering of “the church”–the body of Christ coming together in some creative shape or form now and then to grow and wrestle and learn the ways of Jesus in practice, not just theory.

so here we go, just another next chapter in our story together.  we feel some relief, some much needed relief, and we hope to have a little more breathing room to cultivate some of our dreams & continue extend the good news into hard places.  thanks for praying and being part of the life of our community from afar.

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Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar co-pastors at The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver and is the author of Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

11 Comments

  • Incredible!!! What a great space for you guys!!!! I’m excited for the Refuge!!!

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  • Kathy — that rocks!! So glad that this worked out for you guys — real answer to prayer, isn’t it?!

    Love your perspective on this as well — as cool as having this new space is, your identity is not linked to a physical meeting place, but rather to your gathering of people who serve as and create places of refuge for those who need them…

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  • Amen, to your thoughts re buildings!!! We reckon the same here at the Bridge.

    It’s my birthday today (1/11/1959) – I thought I would mention it, because I know that you will wish me a happy birthday!!! So I thankyou for your kind words in anticipation!!!

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  • Oh the love , joy, & encouragement that is going to contained within the walls of that super quaint place! It looks like it fits in with the community of people that will hang out there; not one for putting on a show, just the real deal. SO SO excited to be a part of that this summer!!!! 🙂

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  • Wow, really nice Kathy.

    But, and please don’t take this the wrong way, is it also going to be used throughout the day for other things – sorta not just Sunday meetings?

    And while we mention birthdays – I turned 50 on the 25th of this month! Officially a Grumpy Ole Fart now!

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  • That is a ‘perfect space’…How exciting for you are your most excellant community of family and friends! I am definately comming to visit. Hope you are still able to come and hang with the Emerging Desert Cohort…we are excited to have your voice. The refuge a hopeful example of what the ‘church’ can be!

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  • donna – yeah, it’s really exciting. i hope we get to see each other soon & i’m soooooo excited about g.f. and running toward new good things. God is so fun.

    steve – thanks for the prayers and all the love & encouragement. it has meant a lot and it really has felt like this glorious break for the refuge.

    mark – hope you got my birthday wishes from across the miles. yeah our communities have the same heartbeat. one of these days i’m going to make it across the ocean and hang out with you guys at the bridge.

    jeff g – always look forward to hearing more…know that i am always cheering you on from afar.

    stacy – yeah, you’ll love it

    pops – well for now we only have use of it on saturdays but it will be fun to see what happens as there are some folks from the refuge & the outside community who have a heart to revitalize the facility overtime and really have a vision for it to become a vibrant part of our local community. there’s lots of work to be done & lots of red tape to unravel. right now, though, this is only the beginning and we just need to be patient & thankful for this open door. but no doubt: i fully and totally believe in any building being used, used, and used by as many diverse organizations and people as possible. we love sharing!!

    azjoy – thanks for the love & encouragement. i hope you guys can come and hang with us for reals, not just for a few hours at off the map but that was a good start 🙂 and yes, i can’t wait to come hang out in phoenix in december. it’s around the corner.

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  • Kathy you said:
    i fully and totally believe in any building being used, used, and used by as many diverse organizations and people as possible. we love sharing!!

    Was never in doubt Sister, never in doubt!! 🙂

    Hey, how’s the lil’ guys leg?

    Yo, Jonas, chicks dig scars man!
    You’ll understand later Buddy!

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  • hey pops – jonas’ leg is healing. it itches like crazy though and that’s what’s bothering him the most. i am being a good nurse and changing his bandages every day. thanks for the prayers & the love!

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  • Vodka helps Kathy, it takes away the itching and is a good streliser.
    Apart from which, before you administer you have to first check that it is not off, so have a tot before you administer.
    If done on a hot day, and you take longer than 5 minutes to administer after checking, you would need to recheck by having another tot etc. etc.

    Anyhow, after a lot of good maternal checking the itching won’t bother you any more 🙂

    Reply

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