Good morning and I am glad to be with you today.
Let me start by telling you a quick story. You’ve probably have heard this, but it bears repeating. There once were 3 blind people and an elephant. They were asked to describe what the elephant looks like. One felt its ear and said an elephant is like a big leaf. One felt its side, and said an elephant is like a big curved wall. And the third felt its trunk and said an elephant was like a big snake. But how could that be? Who was right? Hmmmm I guess they all were.
I tell you this story because it describes my history at First Parish. When I first got involved, my kids were in high school, and I had just lost both of my brothers. I came to First Parish because I wanted something more than a therapist. I was one of those people who sat up in the balcony and didn’t stay for coffee hour. I knew a few people. The services were just what I needed then.
Several years later, I was asked to try out for one of the Beck Plays – It was “This Song’s for You.” Remember that? Over the years, I got involved in more plays and a lot of programs and projects, like the Organ project, Social Action Council, the Treasurer, Standing Committee, and more. I found that I had a singing voice when I joined the choir. I developed many deep friendships and found an incredible group of the smartest, kindest, most caring people I’ve ever known. And most important, I met my wife Martha at one of our Church auctions. We got married in the church surrounded by friends and family.
Over the years I’ve gotten to know a lot about First Parish. But, more important, I have found something that is bigger than I ever thought. It is more than a leaf, a wall or a snake, and in these times of serious stress and disconnections, I have found comfort and hope. But, I am worried now that if we don’t continue to support First Parish through our pledges, our legacy gifts and our involvement, it may not be able to provide to others what it has given me.
So this is why Martha and I have increased our pledge, we have met the 520 challenge. Since we are closing the direct pledge campaign, if you have pledged, thank you. If you want to increase you pledge because of what our amazing staff have been doing for us during these times, I encourage you to do so. If you haven’t pledged, why not? And why not now? We have pledged an amount that is more than I have ever given to any organization, and you know what, I feel really good about this. I hope that you can do the same and continue to feed our “elephant” (even though many of us are not Republicans), so it can continue to prosper and do what it does so well for each of us.