While my church-going life has been quite brief I have always believed churches, at their best, support, enhance, and change lives. And I would suspect that is the order in which many people experience church: first supportive, then life-enhancing, and ultimately life-changing.
For me it was a bit reversed. My life was changed almost the minute I became truly involved here. My wife Ellen and I had been members for many years. But with a business and family I had little time or energy to devote to First Parish. When we first joined 18 years ago I saw a notice regarding our partnership in Transylvania, and an upcoming trip there. It was an immediate spark of interest for me; of possibilities, of connection, of something more. But it only took 16 more years (I move slowly) to realize that interest. My daughter Anna and I joined the very special family pilgrimage in 2018. Following that I was completely immersed in helping plan and host their remarkable visit here this last fall.
This summer Anna, along with Dawn Van Patten’s daughter Simone, were scheduled to go there for 6 weeks helping at various youth camps and learning their culture more fully. And this fall I was to return to Keresztúr for a reunion of the dance troupe. These two trips will likely be delayed but they will happen. The 2018 trip did change Anna’s and my lives. We became very close with our fellow pilgrims, and we gained so many new friends there as well. For me it is through these deep human relations that the mysteries of life, and the challenges and opportunities, are best addressed, especially in these uncertain and difficult times. Human connection is the most important thing.
The partnership with Szekelykeresztúr and its people is so special for First Parish, and our friends there, and I plan to do my part to keep it strong for as long as I can. And my daughter Anna’s depth of engagement there will only increase over time as well. First Parish, and all the work done by so many of you over so many years, has provided my daughter and me with these life-changing opportunities. Truly priceless. We thank you, we thank the church.
I am now happily ensconced in the Partnership Committee, and my First Parish involvement is picking up speed in other areas. I am just scratching the surface of what most all of you already know better than I, that this church supports, enhances, and changes lives.
Please pledge generously during this year’s campaign. Every pledge helps us meet our budget. If you can stretch this year, please give more than last year. Everyone who increases their pledge by $520 or more—that’s $10 dollars a week—will be entered in a raffle for a prize. Ellen and I reconsidered our pledge this year for all the reasons I just listed. We hope you all will too.
Thank you for your generosity!