Below is the first in a series of letters from various First Parish “personalities” who have some things to say to us about this year’s pledge campaign. Their letters are appearing as inserts in the Sunday orders of service. This one and subsequent inserts, will also be available on the website at: firstparish.org/campaign.
February 23, 2020
Good Morning Friends,
I’m not much of a talker, but I want to say I’m proud of you.
You create our First Parish community. You keep coming back. I’ve been bursting with this pride since 1712—some 15,972 Sundays—and it never gets old.
I don’t know what draws you to our spiritual community, but I’m glad to see you. Okay, I’ll guess. Is it spiritual growth? Seeing friends? A desire to belong? A place to do good? To sing your heart out? A refuge from a harsh world? Or do you simply crave a few moments of quiet reflection? Your reasons are probably many and varied. I’m partial to the organ music myself.
I’ve witnessed your incredible heritage. I watched the First Provincial Congress choose John Hancock as its president here in 1774. That was a seminal time. Funny story: baby Henry David Thoreau nearly slept through his 1841 baptism until Rev. Ezra Ripley shocked him with cold holy water. (Yes, he was like that.)
I’ve seen a lot because of my job. I’m a support beam. I keep the church standing. I was hewn for the barn-like Meeting House built in 1711-12 (By townsmen drunk on rum and beer, but that’s another story). Salvaged from the 1900 fire, I was given a place of honor above the entrance to the new Sanctuary later that year. We’re similar that way: we show up for what matters.
I’m particularly proud because First Parish has sustained a spiritual community in Concord since 1636. But to paraphrase Megan Markle, it’s not enough to survive, you must thrive, too. (What? You think I don’t keep up?)
Today, I want to encourage you to be like me. Support your church. We need to raise $1.4 million for the 2020-21 operating budget. We’re too reliant on a few big donors so this year, we’re asking everyone to rise to the 520 Challenge. Consider foregoing something small each week, like a couple of cups of Starbucks coffee, and pledge the extra $10 a week to First Parish.
When you declare your financial support on Celebration Sunday, March 8, know I’ll be watching you with pride.
Wood Beam Timber