I'm sitting in the main office of our new church building, we just finished up a lovely planning meeting for our Breakthrough Congregation presentation. The wind seems like it's coming straight off Puget Sound and trying to push the church right off it's perch on the hill. Rain is slamming into the windows.
But there's no pushing this church off of anything. It's solid as a rock.
It was such an honor to sit with some of the wise leaders of this church as they brainstrormed how to convey the story of our breakthrough. This congregation was founded in 1963, it's older than I am. And it has had a long and lively history. But the recent story, the one I'm familiar with, is what leaves me still smiling as I pause before the next event here tonight.
Tonight we'll have a gathering of families with children in Kindergarten through 5th grade. If everyone shows up, we could have 40 families. Now that is a crowd. But it hasn't always been this way.
In 2005, when I started working here, we had 113 adult members and about 23 kids. Today, we have 180 adult members and 101 registered kids. That's part of the story, a lovely part that allows us to have three levels of Our Whole Lives classes and a real youth group with sleep overs and hide and seek games in dark.
The other part of the story is about the passion and fire of this pretty small group of people, who, during the darkest of times in the US economy, raised almost a million dollars to buy a church home in about four month's time. And then, when the paperwork was all signed and filed away, they rolled up their sleeves and proceeded to renovate the building, taking it from a near disaster to a beautiful church home. Today they're still working hard. We're a fair share congregation who have paid our dues to the district and the UUA for as long as anyone can remember. Our members clean and maintain this building. Yes, we could hire a sexton if we didn't pay those dues. No one has ever suggested it and no one ever will. It's part of the mettle of these people. These lovely people. No one here is afraid of really hard work. They thrive on it.
How do we tell this story in 6 minutes of video that will be shown at the UUA General Assembly? We might just have to bring buckets of sweat and tears and somehow --I have no idea how--convey the love that guided every move.
What an honor to serve this group.
Speaking of serving this group, there are lights to be turned on, doors to unlock and a fussy old dishwasher to go wrestle with to be ready for the families who will arrive out of the blustery night very soon. But you know what? It's all good. I appreciate all the work there is to do, because it's quite a testament to all the work we've done to get here. Hard work really does have its rewards.
And I've got a lovely church dinner to prepare for.
Amen. Big, huge Amen.