To be fair, I still don’t know much about Franklinton Center.
It has just been one day.
I have not met many of the generation of adults who will refer to this place as a second (or first) home after attending summer, day, and work camps here as kids.
I have not met the families of African and Indigenous Americans whose relatives were schooled here during a time when they were not allowed in the American public schools.
I have not seen the communities that gather, rally, celebrate, and sustain one another in the name of diversity, grace, and God’s extravagant welcome.
On second thought, maybe I have. Friends of mine, mentors of mine, people I love and respect have been impacted by this place – and I am just now beginning to put it together.
I have spent a beautiful fall day walking the grounds that began as a slave plantation – the plantation where unruly slaves were brought to have their spirits broken.
I have walked past the tree that was planted where the old whipping post used to be.
I have seen pictures, rooms, and buildings where education, transformation, and reclamation of the human spirit happened for decades and decades.
I have listened to the visions of three staff members who are leading this center towards the next generation’s needs of justice and education, joy and rest.
I still have not seen the original schoolhouse where this former school, and former college began. Nor have I toured the entire 250 acres of farm fields, creeks, and beauty.
But already, I have been impacted by this place.
At one point though, I asked if Franklinton Center had an outdoor chapel. I was challenged, to paraphrase “We try not to designate one particular sacred space, when there are 250 acres of it all around us.”
May we all have the opportunity to experience the sacred space that happens when we make the effort to revitalize, rejuvenate, educate, and appreciate the broken spirits among us, Amen.