“Blessed in the certainty that we are held in the Light.”  This was the final line of our wedding vows.  It’s a sentence that jumped out at me even when I was new to having a fully developed brain and planning a wedding; succumbing to the pressure to throw a Martha Stewart Weddings worthy event.  It’s a line that has stuck with me as a mantra during rough patches.  It’s a line that, even if we did it all over again and eloped, I would use.  It’s a line that the WHF community has reminded me of and exemplified over and over again.


This past summer I was perusing our wedding album.  In the photos were people I didn’t recognize.  As friends of my partner’s parents, they’d been invited out of obligation and I met them briefly only on our wedding day.  There were friends, who were great friends at the time, and with whom many, for one reason or another, we’ve lost touch. There were extended family members with whom we have little to no relationship.  Also in those photos are people from WHF.  Mike married us; our flower children were children we knew from this community. From centerpiece bouquets to candid shots, throughout our photos is the presence of WHF. 


My attendance and participation waxed and waned as different life events, travel, house location, etc. happened.  Even during those times of being away for months on end, I missed the fellowship and intellectual, emotional and spiritual stimulation I received every time I walked through the doors.


The need for a loving, accepting, encouraging, enveloping, real community deepened when we started a family. My desire to provide a place for my children where they were exposed to a nurturing, spiritual environment; where teaching about a loving, gracious God, who leaves a lot of room for questions, became what seemed like a basic need. 


As I allowed myself to be invested, I found myself describing WHF as a place I could be myself without justification.  I didn’t need to hide the parts of me that, in the past, hadn’t been “good enough” or too weird for church.  I didn’t need to separate my church friends from real-life friends.  For once in my life I looked forward to centering into a spiritual practice that included all parts of me (even the rebellious parts!), and was not afraid of God.


I am so honored that I, (along with my family, friends, and whomever else has been brought into the consciousness of WHF), have been loved fiercely, encouraged and supported.  I feel grounded, loved, and, for the first time, safe to be vulnerable as part of a faith community. I have been given opportunities to lead, support and speak just for being me. I trust that what my children are taught will be rooted in love and acceptance for all beings.


Friends, thanks to you, I am home and most definitely blessed in the certainty that we are held in the Light.

—Elliot Witherspoon