When the Rev. Adrienne Hymes was considering ways to reach out into the community surrounding the new Wesley Chapel Episcopal Church, she hit upon an idea that literally involves making house calls.
She has made herself available, by appointment, to visit a house or apartment — or business or other gathering space, for that matter, to lead a ceremony to bless the space.
Recently, she visited the home of Pete and Sharon Soto, of Wesley Chapel, and read from scriptural text, as she and those gathered took part in a rite aimed at welcoming and acknowledging God’s presence, and asking for blessing and protection.
The couple, their daughter, and some friends and neighbors joined in reading passages, at certain points in the rite.
Hymes used salt and a blessing, seeking to turn ordinary tap water into holy water — used to bless every room in the home.
Salt is used for purification, she explained.
And, near the home’s front door, Hymes recited a pray, which said in part: “Almighty and everlasting God, grant to this home, the grace of your presence, that you may be known to be the inhabitant of this dwelling and a defender of this household.”
As she and the others made their way throughout the home, she sought blessings for each room.
In the bedroom, for instance, Hymes prayed: “Guide us, waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping, that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep, we may rest in peace.”
Others attending the ceremony were Jeri Jeffries, Maggie Thomas, Christine O’Donnell, Karen Bauer and Michelle Flemming, the Sotos’ daughter.
“As we go on our spiritual journey, and our deeper relationship with God, we started to realize that we need extra protection,” Sharon Soto said.
“We lived 30 years in the other house and we didn’t get it done, so when the opportunity came up for this house, we couldn’t pass it up,” Pete Soto said. “That was just like a God-sent message.”
The Sotos moved to Wesley Chapel a couple of years ago.
“We were ready to downsize to a smaller home, and we have a daughter, a son-in-law and two grandsons that live in Wesley Chapel.
“It’s not that we don’t feel the presence of God here, we already do. It just is kind of an affirmation, I guess,” Sharon Soto said.
Hymes said besides blessing homes, she’s available — by appointment — to bless other spaces, too.
“More and more, as people are pushed into very determined sacred and secular spaces, I think it’s important to remind people that showing up where they live, work and play, and saying, ‘You know what, all of it is sacred,’ ” she said.
“Ritual is so important for us to memorialize different milestones in our lives. One of those would be that now, we have a new home, or we have a home that we now want to make sure that is adequately blessed, particularly if you’re a religious person,” Hymes said.
“It’s one way for the church to say, ‘We’re new here,’ but we also want to be able to bless you in whatever way that we can. Interacting with people, not just on the street corner, or the place where we’re shopping — but to be able to go into their home, is a very intimate space. And, I think that connects with people on a very different level.”
New church begins Sunday services
What: Wesley Chapel Episcopal Church is beginning to offer a Sunday morning service
Where: 3758 Maryweather Lane, Wesley Chapel
When: Nov. 4 at 8 a.m. (This will be the new church’s first Sunday service, which it plans to offer each week at 8 a.m.)
Details: Besides offering a Sunday service, the church also offers home blessings and other activities aimed at promoting spiritual development.
Info: Visit WCEpiscopalChurch.org, or call (813) 418-1281.
Published October 31, 2018