Winnie’s Blog

Published by Ben on

A reflection from Winnie Obese-Bempong, Ordinand in training:


It’s a simple word that conjures up complex emotions. For some, “Home” is a physical place with fond memories. For others, it’s an elusive idea they struggle to grasp. Many spend their lives searching for where they truly belong. But what is home? And how do we find it? Somewhere this Summer Holidays, I found myself visiting different churches looking for a place to call my Home Church.

I remember vividly the emotions that consumed me when I set foot into St Paul’s Herne Hill. I was met by Joy, Peace, Laughter, Wonder, Welcome and Hope. I must say, I left making sense of the encounter, and I felt God reminding me of these words “Abide with me”. To process all this well and make the relevance of my emotions I was encouraged by Psalm 27:4 “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”

This Psalm conveys the idea of finding one’s home and belonging in the presence of God. The psalmist expresses his deep desire to dwell with God, to abide in his house and temple. He finds his home in seeking the Lord, gazing at his beauty and goodness. The verse from Psalms beautifully captures the essence of discovering one’s true home in God

Often, we can associate home with the place we grew up. The house we lived in as a child certainly holds nostalgia. Yet as we grow older, we learn that the building itself is not what made it home. Rather, it was the people—our family—and the love within those walls that brought warmth, comfort, and belonging.

The Apostle Paul’s letter of encouragement to the Ephesians helps me to live into my new identity and belonging. “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” (Ephesians 2:19) This passage speaks to a spiritual sense of belonging as part of God’s family and household. Our truest home is in Christ where we are no longer lost or displaced.

I love what he goes on to say in (Ephesians 4:4-6) “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Here Paul emphasises that the church is a place of belonging through our shared faith. It evokes the idea that we find our place through the one body, one hope, one Lord that all believers unite under. Both verses above convey that sense of no longer being a stranger, but being welcomed into a household and community bound together in Christ. Through God’s family, love, and faith we find our deepest connection.

On that faithful first visit to St Paul’s, I was captured by the beauty of the architecture and the spectacular decoration, I felt a sense of joy and a connection as if I had been here before. On Sunday 19th November at 11:15 service, when the choir sang the closing song “Siyahamba’” “We Are Marching” the infectious enthusiasm and the celebratory spirit found in the faces of the choir team, filled my heart with an abundance of joy. The upbeat connotations of marching with “we” rather than “I”, hint at themes around camaraderie, collaboration, and building each other up. There was also a sense of unity, community, solidarity and shared enthusiasm as a group bonded in faith. The shared joy and hope in God’s presence guiding the way expresses the power and reassurance of knowing we walk together bathed in His illuminating light.

Maybe home is wherever our loved ones are. Family is certainly a huge part of feeling at home. However, as life progresses, we often move away from relatives or forge our own separate branches on the family tree. We can stay intimately connected to parents and siblings while still feeling a distance—like a piece of home is missing.

Perhaps home lies within ourselves then. It’s an inner sense of being centred, grounded, and secure. But our souls can still feel restless and our minds race with uncertainty, preventing us from fully being at peace. We can have all the worldly success in the world and yet lack a foundation that whispers “Welcome home.”

For some, finding a home means locating a new geographic place to put down roots. Moving to a new city brings new beginnings and opportunities where you can make your mark. But busyness and isolation can creep in just as easily in a new location. Loneliness has nothing to do with where you reside on a map.

No, simply a house, family, job, or location does not guarantee finding a home. Home is more than that. It’s a sense of belonging. It’s a place where you are known, accepted, and loved. It’s feeling secure enough in yourself and your relationships to open your heart without fear or judgment. Perhaps that’s why the journey to find home never really ends. Because it’s not a destination, but rather a state of being that evolves as we do.

Home is where we build bonds of friendship and community that support us. It’s where we find peace within ourselves to be present in each moment. For some, it’s a place they never had growing up but strive to create for themselves now. For others, it’s reclaiming the best moments of childhood when life felt filled with possibility, play, and nurturing.

At the end of the day, home is wherever we are brave enough to be vulnerable and real. It’s not defined by labels, appearances, or neat checklists. There may not be one right answer or place for everyone. But for those with open and gracious hearts, home is never that far away. Its light shines within, calling you to come rest and just be. Welcome home.

Winnie is overseeing the welcome and prayer teams at the 1115 service and is also starting a small group at the cafe in January. ">Do get in touch with her if you want to find out more.

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