Seeing the Light

She can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  She's been stuck in that tunnel for three years now, following a road that was rarely straight.  Although she was given a very thick notebook containing rules of the road for her journey, the maps provided often led her to a dead end.  Several times she stopped to ask directions, but because this was somewhat new territory, no one really knew the way. As a result, she kept bumping into the sides of the tunnel, looking for a way out.

Holy Comforter's  56th Annual Holiday Boutique and Housewalk will be held on Wednesday, October 6, with a preview of the boutique on Tuesday evening, October 5.  Many changes have taken place over these fifty six years.  What began as a humble arts and crafts fair in the church building has expanded to a beautiful boutique at the Michigan Shore Club.  A wide variety of vendors have replaced the handmade ornaments that once were sold.  The punch and cookies that were served in the Great Hall have been expanded into an elegant buffet luncheon with the optional glass of wine. 

Not all changes have been positive.  Finding homes for the Housewalk has become increasingly difficult. The needs for privacy and safety have made people question whether it is a good idea to put their homes on display to strangers.  The event, which was once the pride of "The Women of the Church," now struggles to find volunteers as so many women have full time jobs - either in or outside the home.  The  continued tough economy has left families with less discretionary income, so the decision to purchase a ticket becomes  a little more difficult. In 56 years, the cost of a ticket has increased - from $4 to $50!

Some things, however, have not changed.  Housewalk is still the parish's main outreach fund raising event with all profits, mainly from the sale of the tickets, supporting local and global organizations that provide services to the neediest people in our community and our world.  The greater community looks forward to and enjoys what has traditionally been the first holiday boutique of the season.  The homes on the housewalk are always beautiful and welcoming.  Most importantly, this continues to be an opportunity to showcase the caring, loving community that is Church of the Holy Comforter.

Janet Beatty, the Vestry Outreach Resource Chair, has been overseeing the Holiday Boutique and Housewalk for the last three years.  During her tenure, she has had to deal with the not-so-positive changes that have occurred.  She has chaired the event with grace and humor, even one year from her hospital bed!  She has managed to keep a core group of volunteers who are dedicated to the success of the event, raising funds for outreach, and promoting our parish's commitment to each other and the community.  Now, a bit exhausted but still enthusiastic, she is focused on that light at the end of the tunnel - her last year as Housewalk chair, ready and willing to pass the torch to the next Outreach Resource Chair. She has done her job and done it exceedingly well. As she looks to the future of Housewalk, she is the first to admit that the parish needs to evaluate its outreach funding and perhaps again make some major changes to this annual event.

If you have not yet done so, please consider making a donation to our outreach giving by purchasing your Housewalk tickets.  Do it for those who benefit from your donation.  Do it as a way to support your parish and the handful of volunteers who have planned and organized the event.  Or do it as a way to thank Janet for her leadership, for her commitment, and for putting her life on hold  these last three years.  Let's make that light at the end of the tunnel shine brightly so she can finally find her way out.  We will be there cheering her on - or out.