Updated: Oct 6
Back in 1985, Kent and I were looking for a home, not only for our new family but our new business. We drove up to Redmond on a Saturday afternoon to look at commercial buildings with incubator spaces for start-ups. Our new business was just a little beyond a twinkle in the eye and housed in the basement of our split level in Federal Way. We earnestly hoped it was the right time to rent a space and make the next leap.
We looked at the push-up concrete buildings in the Sammamish Valley between Willows Road and SR202. The ones with many windows were too expensive. We called those the “pretty buildings”. But, we found a little warehouse space not far from the Sammamish Slough that looked promising. There was a bridge under construction for 85th Street by Redmond City Hall that would shorten a commute from the east side of the valley. In hope of the bridge, we explored up 166th Avenue NE to see what the neighborhoods looked like.
At the corner of 104th St and 166th we saw a sign proclaiming HARVEST FESTIVAL at St. Jude Catholic Church. Should we check it out? The kids, three and four-years old at the time, were in favor. So, we parked and were ushered into a warm, welcoming world of fun, food and music. By the time we left, after many cake walks, hot dogs, sweets, face-painting and all that good harvest fun, we were sold. “Let’s live here!” Sort of a Punxsutawney/Ground Hog Day moment you could say.
If we had been Catholic, we would have sought no other fellowship from that moment. As it is, we have had friends at St. Jude through all the intervening years. One recently introduced me to a Stations of the Cross walk arranged in the church woods. We are grateful for the warmth and welcome that established our base - the place that our kids say they are “from” - and where we have lived and worked for almost four decades.
Perhaps we would have landed here, and come to love it just as much without that catapult. But there’s power in a loving community, reaching its arms out beyond its own flock to families and little ones that come from outside and providing a sort of respite through play and fun offered by loving servants of Jesus.
May our arms of Jesus’ love wrap around folks both old and new at our own Harvest Festival and bless all comers!