By Tom Ehrich

I learned some important things over lunch with the pastor at my new church.

Migrant worker ministry is active here. The church takes youth to the Navajo Nation. English-as-a-Second-Language is needed in the Accord-Stone Ridge community. A Benedictine monastery is just 30 minutes away along the Hudson River. Each Sunday the church offers a contemplative service in the evening. Spiritual development is valued. And more.

Where I fit into all this remains to be seen. But it's like looking at a map and seeing many places I want to visit. When I am ready to jump in and give, there will be opportunities.

As I drove home, I felt a lightness of spirit. Finding a church home apparently matters more to me than I realized. I was prepared to accept whatever I found at my community's Episcopal church. It is thrilling to learn how much they are doing to serve God.

Our society needs healthy churches that are imbued with a spirit of mission and self-sacrifice. Otherwise, greed, fear and anger will take away our freedom.

We need to have the goodness in us tapped. God has given us hearts to love and hands to serve, but too often we get stifled or discouraged. We need our better natures to emerge, be valued, and be put to work.