A little over a month ago I went to the annual HMS reunion, a reunion of the commune which I grew up in. A small segment of us meet every year, but this year we met in the Midwest, for the first time in decades, in the small town of Oconomowoc. One prominent family from the commune lives there, my dad went to high-school there, and there are many roots of the Jesus Movement within that town.
The reunion was a wondrous remembrance of all that had gone before, as always. But this time we had a number of those who were part of my first communes, Jesus People Milwaukee and Jesus People Europe, who dropped by to visit. Southern Wisconsin is a bastion of those who were part of those ministries. And I was able to get on tape some of the sharings of those from the different communes, as they traced the work of God in their lives, as it dove and intertwined through numerous stories. It was a shock and awe to hear how so many lives had been touched at this time, how so many stories interacted ways hidden from the participants, until now.
My dad had been unable to attend the reunion, and so viewed the videos on the Facebook site I’d created. He, too, was impressed at the work of God in the past, and how that work had continued through the years. And simultaneously, yet independently, we both realized there was a great wealth of a spiritual and emotional support network there around Oconomowoc, Milwaukee, and Madison.
I came down here to be of support for my dad during his loss, with the understanding that God would reveal to me the What Next once I arrived. We feel that that has happened. There is a real move of God going on in a couple related churches in Madison, based around Mad City Church, and some of those from my communes are involved in them. We both desire to increase the relationships there, and feel the promise of new ones. I want to be involved in what God is doing, and be encouraged towards the next steps.
My dad has bought an RV that is now being refitted, and at the beginning of September, we will head out across country to Madison, by way of Tucson, Albuquerque, OK City, and St. Louis. Outside Albuquerque I plan to visit the oldest continuously inhabited city in America, Acomo Pueblo, founded around 1100 AD. I hope to see old friends along the way, like Bill Lowry, director of Christ is the Answer, a ministry that evolved out of Jesus People Milwaukee; Dave Hoyt, who worked with us in Europe when I was three; and Linnea and Max, working in the midst of an art community in St. Louis. The last sounds especially intriguing, from the rumors of stories I’ve heard.
So I find myself returning to the land of my birth, Milwaukee, where I lived for the first six months of my life, but never since then. A new thing, to return to the old, but as always, on the road again.