Why, it was wonderful! Why, all at once there were leaves,
Leaves at the end of a dry stick, small, alive
Leaves out of wood. It was wonderful,
You can’t imagine. They came by the wood path…
Well, it was like a dream,
It happened so quickly, all of a sudden it happened—
In these few lines Archibald MacLeish captures the essence of Spring and the Passover/Easter message about the miracle of new life, renewed hope, after a winter of despair.
It has been a tough time – for more reasons than one. The economic crisis has been dangling over our heads like the sword of Damocles. The legend says that Damocles coveted the luxury of Dionysius, so they exchanged places for a day. In the middle of day, as Damocles was enjoying this luxury, Dionysius ordered that a shining sword, fastened from the ceiling by a single horse-hair, be let down so that it hung perilously over the neck of Damocles.
We are a fortunate people. We’re all too well aware of the fragile nature of our good fortune.
Now, and for the next few weeks, we’re being asked to share a portion of our personal worldly fortune. Volunteers in the congregation will be contacting us to ask for a pledge, a promise to pay, for the coming year, so that we can maintain the programs that are at the heart of our religious community. Please respond to them the way you would like to be responded to!
The canvass comes at difficult time in our congregation – a time of transition, with the announcement of Margie’s resignation, a surprise to most members, and a loss for many. Although it seemed abrupt, I can assure you that two years of hard work and effort preceded it. Margie is still your Associate Minister, and I support her right to her perspective. However, I want to be clear that neither I, nor the rest of the church staff, share her assertion that there is a systemic problem that needs to be fixed, as she suggested in her letter. Indeed, during my 25 years of service I have seen the church grow, not only in numbers, but institutional maturity, balancing professional ministerial leadership with lay management and an inspired, dedicated staff.
I appreciate that fact that you have thoughts, concerns, questions and feelings about things that have been said or written. Be assured that I am here, and I’m open to your visit. But for now I will focus on the positive – the work that remains before us.
The theme of the canvass is “NOW, MORE THAN EVER.” Those who are not out of work, or out of money, have a greater responsibility to step up to the plate and help make up for the all-but-certain canvass shortfall – now, more than ever! Staff salaries were frozen last year and more drastic steps will have to be taken next year if we don’t have adequate funding from all of us.
I have every confidence in our collective ability – yours, mine and the staff’s – to keep this ship at full sail, moving ahead with a renewed sense of strength, purpose and direction. ‘This is our great covenant: to dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in love, and to help one another.’ So be it.