I found it.
Color me surprised--after nine years of wishing I were just back home, St. Augustine's Episcopalian Church has presented itself as more than a place to stay a while.
Maybe it's that there are women wearing vestments during liturgy, and it's not even a big deal.
Maybe it's that, in their recitation of the creed, their pronoun for the Spirit of God is "she."
Maybe it's that they offer free nursery care for the kids who aren't old enough to go to Sunday School but are too squirmy for an hour of liturgy.
Maybe it's that their pastor is a former pro-baseball player who just got back from a week-long spiritual writer's retreat.
Maybe it's that their community is small, that there's a cadre of writers who write original collects for their liturgy, that there are several instrumentalists accompanying the vocalists, or that the vested leaders sit choir style in honor of their Benedictine tradition. Maybe it's that the community sings hymns and psalms in their entirety and pause before they give voice to the prayers of the people. Maybe it's that the presider offers blessings to all those celebrating a major life event, or that the ministers look you in the eye and hold your gaze as they offer you the Bread of Life.
Or maybe it's that the pastor and other leaders are willing to take time to be welcoming, to learn your name, to ask how this community can be hospitable to you. Maybe it's that that pastor is willing to take forty-five un-rushed minutes to talk to a mere layperson and find out how she got here and what she brings to the table.
Or maybe it's just that it's a place where I don't have to fight to be seen or heard or acknowledged. Maybe it feels like home because it is a home--for anyone who wants to claim it as theirs.
The thing is, I'm not ready to call myself Episcopalian. I am still Roman Catholic, and I am also very much more than Roman Catholic. I have no desire to trade one tiny identity box for another. But I am willing to add to my identity. I am also willing to claim this particular community as mine--because this community is willing to claim me as one of theirs, just as I am.