April 29, Week 4
Stewardship: Caring for Our Campus
The campus here is beautiful and soulful. the buildings are sacred and useful spaces that have been well-used for good purpose for a long time:
- The Meeting House, place of worship weddings, memorials and music for 90 years.
- 11 Edgell Road, home of part of the MetroWest Free Medical Program, Learning English for Adults Program (LEAP) and Our Whole Lives (OWL) program for our youth.
- The Parish House is the hub of activity all week long.
- Likewise, the seeding, weeding, plowing, raking and paving of the grounds is all part of stewardship of this place where UU values are lived.
It must be said that managing the expense of all of this is challenging. In the past 11 years, leaders here have implemented two capital improvement drives. Thanks to them and to all who contributed! Special kudos to Church Administrator, Sara Morrison Neil, who finds ways to manage, and the Maintenance Council (Dicker Rader, Ed Uftring, Ed Clarke, Robin Hegvik, Russ Greve and Larry Bassett).
I celebrate the goodness that emanates from these rooms and spaces.
Reflections from Russ Greve
To me, the word Stewardship has two meanings. One implies hierarchy and the need to grow wealth–like the obligation of a servant to further the financial interests of a master. The other implies community and the need to care for what is entrusted to us–like the planets earth, Gaia.
Here are First Parish, Stewardship has a communal significance. It is understood and practiced in ways both tangible and intangible. Our buildings and grounds–our communal assets–require maintenance and the financial resources to perform it. Each of us contributes those financial resources to sustain our religious community. In return, we have a place to gathers and gain the elusive sense of belonging that is under pressure in our twenty-first century culture.
Maintaining, repairing and adapting–best described as “tinkering”–are things that have been with me since childhood. So it seemed natural to join the Maintenance Council here. With Alma and Bob Gould as leaders and mentors, I formed a long association with brass polish, candles, wax, wood and wool. As an altar boy, I had already mastered the proper handling of the candle lighter. I now consider myself an unofficial Chancel Chandler. However, I am only one of many worker bees keeping up appearances here.
Spiritual nourishment, the intangible aspect of Stewardship, is provided not only by the professional guidance and inspiration of our minister, director of religious exploration and the music directors, but by laity as well. The wonderful dynamic created here is that lay people with their ideas, energies and talents are empowered to create programs for implementing their vision of a richer church life and a better world.
I see Stewardship at First Parish as a balance between the tangible and intangible. It enables us to create a place where we come together, where good things happen, and we leave feeling better for being part of it. I hope that is your vision too!