What makes a space sacred? Or more importantly, how do you turn an ordinary place into a sacred place? And what does hospitality have to do with it?
Rev. Melissa Keeble has a passion for holding space for ordinary and sacred places in her community. She visits strangers and listens to them with a fresh set of ears and a fresh heart. She sits by their hospital bed and lets them say whatever they need to say, and that becomes a sacred place.
True hospitality is love in action. It touches something very deep in us — our profound human longing to feel accepted, to belong, to be loved, to feel safe, to be valued and respected. Hospitality is not something to be proclaimed; it must be lived to be authentic.
Listen in as Melissa talks about the transformation of a turquoise picnic table that was already serving to foster social connection in her community. And how a heart for hospitality turned it into a sacred gathering space for giving and receiving during the pandemic. The lesson she has learned through all of this is that we all need people.
Rev. Melissa Keeble is a midwest transplant. Never did she imagine she’d come to know and love Champaign-Urbana so much! She cares deeply about the community but often struggles to discern what the next right step is to make CU the best that it can be—for ALL. So she starts small. With a little picnic bench. And simply tries to love people well.
Melissa is an ordained Minister of Word & Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She works as a Chaplain at Carle Foundation Hospital and finds purpose in walking with people in the hard spots of life. She also sits on the Citizen Police Review Subcommittee for the City of Champaign and is an active volunteer with several community organizations. When recognized as a Community Impact Award winner in 2019, nominators expressed that Melissa is known for constantly going out of her way to heal or help bring about change where she sees a need through emotional support, supplies, and speaking out.
Resources We Mention
- The Turquoise Table: Finding Community and Connection in Your Own Front Yard by Kristin Schell
- Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted by Suleika Jaouad
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