Magazine article The Christian Century

Equipped for Your Needs: My Church's Magical Supply Closet

Magazine article The Christian Century

Equipped for Your Needs: My Church's Magical Supply Closet

Article excerpt

ON THE SEVENTH floor of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry Potter and his friends discover a particularly magical room. Called the Room of Requirement, it emerges whenever it is needed. As Dobby the Elf explains to Harry, "Sometimes [the room] is there, and sometimes it is not, but when it appears, it is always equipped for the seeker's needs."

My church contains such a room, just off the balcony, at the top of the stairs and across from the elevator. As far as I can tell, our room--unlike its Hogwarts counterpart--does not disappear and reappear. But there is a bit of a mystical nature to its existence. "I never knew that closet was there!" I've heard more than once, from volunteers or staff who had walked by it many times but had never cracked the door.

The room is commonly known as the Christian education supply closet, but I've come to think of it as our Room of Requirement. It contains everything one could need, for just about any purpose. I come to this room in search of props for a children's moment, inspiration for a sermon, supplies for a prayer station. I've found Santa hats for caroling in the neighborhood, fishing nets for a message on the call of the disciples, popcorn containers for movie nights.

There are markers, crayons, scissors. Glue sticks. Scrapbooking paper. Stickers. An aged cardboard box labeled "Ducks, plastic." Maps of the Holy Land and an incredibly outdated globe of the world. Bucket upon bucket of plastic eggs for the Easter egg hunt we host every spring. Costumes for every conceivable Bible character. Bins of fabric scraps. Empty mason jars. A collection of stuffed sheep. At least one beautifully gnarled walking stick that could serve as Moses's staff or a shepherd's crook.

One recent morning, I was preparing for a leadership retreat and realized I'd forgotten a key ingredient for a game we were going to play. …

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