The anniversary Sunday when we celebrate the congregation’s 289th year seems an odd moment to talk about the state of the church’s operating budget, on this the 269th day of the year. All the more so when we consider that the church was founded by immigrants, undocumented ones at that, who braved an ocean crossing to come here. Issues of our unforeseen HVAC repairs don’t compare to the experience of spending weeks on a small wooden ship in North Atlantic, without any form of temperature control or comfort of modern insulation. Our congregation moved and changed as the city changed, moving to 10th and Wallace and then 54th and Locust. Recognizing the need to move, building a new house of worship, these can’t have been easy decisions that our predecessors made together. Certainly, our discussions about what days to have the creche animals here don’t compare, as strongly as we all may feel about it.
But maybe our current issues can be compared to those turning points in the history of our church. One way to look at a life is to see the ‘highlights’, the graduations, the weddings, the births, the funerals. Another way, is to see the daily labors and joys. The kids made ready for school, the neighbor greeted, the joke shared with a friend,
Of course, the dichotomy is really a false one. The big events in a life are the sum total of thousands of tiny events that led up to them. The turning points in the life of this church were surely preceded by countless small acts and choices.
So today we are a little bit behind in our operating budget mainly due to a rusted out fan. That was the result of many small deteriorations, so let our solution be likewise. Within the budget we are economizing in many ways, but there is always more we can do. Of course every little bit of giving matters, but there are lots of little pieces of work to do around the church and they all matter. Checking the drains from time to time. Working the air blower. Turning out the lights after service. Turning the lights on before service and preparing the sanctuary. Greeting a new face. Welcoming back an old one. Just being here and sharing your warmth when it is cold outside. There are lots of ways we can all contribute and while most, if not all of them seem small, know that they are the little steps that on the 389th Anniversary Sunday will be talked about by our successors as having preceded the next big event in the life of this congregation, whatever God wills that to be.