by Moira Rouse, UUCW Stewardship Team
As past Nuggets have said, we on the Stewardship Team like to clarify the relationship between your money and our congregation every so often (archives here). David Schowalter wrote many recent Nuggets because he is great at clarifying things and making sense. Now it is my turn to write and I hope to make sense, too.
When I was young, my mother told me that her childhood church was the one place where different families became one community for a moment. Each Sunday the wealthy banker and business-owner families sat in the same pews as the poor and farmer families. It may have been the only time they were all in the same place in their small town, so disparate were their lives. Some of them wore stylish dresses and suits with polished button-up shoes, while others were barefoot in old overalls and misfitting clothes. This world she described sounded ancient and unfamiliar. When I tried to picture it, it was definitely not in technicolor, yet today I continue to learn from her stories. My mother would have been barefoot, the middle child of 9 in a 1930’s tenant-farm family during the Great Depression. She had faith in that church community and it empowered her life. She attended and graduated from college and graduate school thanks in-part to student scholarships from her denomination, which she later worked to pay back. By the time I came along and heard the story, we were UUs and her midwestern home was the place we visited with all those relatives and ate well at big reunion picnics.
If she were alive today, my mother would be 95 years old and changing the subject about now, so as not to dwell on the past or any sad story because the present and what we make of it are what matter most. She is right. This new year 2022 brings us into the heart of winter. January’s sub-zero winds bite at any exposed skin on some days while warm breezes approach 50 degrees on other days. Given this weather, some of us may struggle to keep our home warm enough while other homes are abundantly warm. That is the truth: we come from different places to share this one place. We bring our varied histories and experiences and choose to join our time and hopes together here.
Whatever the world has in store, this community endures. This congregation will welcome you the first time, the tenth time, the thousandth time. You are welcome without regard for when your last time here was. To the best of our abilities, a weekly morning service will be provided. We will gather one way or another, sometimes beneath a roof and sometimes without one but always with heart, always with hope, always with gratitude for the time together.
Our minister used to say in at least one service each year that part of his job is to “Comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.” I have not heard that phrase for a while. Maybe I missed him saying it. Or maybe his work is mostly giving comfort lately. I hope we remember to comfort him, too, and the other generous people who work here because we all serve each other, really. Part of that service is the money we give, because it pays the church bills. Please give as generously as you are able. We all make a difference by coming here, to help ourselves to the community we deserve, and to serve each other in all the ways we can. What we make of this present moment is what matters now and in the future.