Blessing or burden?
Merry Christmas! Yes, it may seem late to hear ‘Merry Christmas’ when you read this, however, the 12 days of Christmas begin with December 25th and continue through Epiphany on January 6th. So, you may actually be reading this during the true Christmas Season rather than the Advent Season.
But that’s not the topic for today. Something has been touching my heart lately and perhaps yours as well. With the changes my parents went through this past year I can see a striking parallel with our congregations.
They bought their Dream Home in 1978. It had all the features they desired. There was plenty of room, a great view and wonderful parties. The place seemed full and alive. In time that died down. At one point it was just two aging people in a home and property that was too much to manage. But it was their dream to live in such a house! They were blessed. Their parents were so proud of what they had achieved. Sound familiar?
Medical issues arose suddenly and a need for more personalized care and the outrageous cost of trying to get that care in their home caused them to move to a nice senior complex. All of the sudden they had to pay rent even though they owned their home. They started to pay for care that they used to do on their own.
In time, the house was sold. Many of the prized ‘treasures’ have been given away because we couldn’t find homes for all of them within the family.
If that doesn’t sound familiar, let me spell it out. Our facilities were once filled with joy and laughter and wonderful parties. When they were built our facilities were custom made just for us. In time the wonderful facilities we once enjoyed started to require more care than we could manage or afford on our own. We have had to make some hard decisions on what to do and what to leave undone.
My parents had a great investment in their home. We had some great parties and many years of joy. That will never change; it is now a part of history. Our congregation had a great investment in our facilities. We had some great parties and many years of joy. That will never change; it is now a part of history.
My parents changed, and their needs changed too. Tears were shed thinking of the loss of the Dream Home in exchange for even a very nice apartment. My parents needed only a smaller space with some additional, paid, help.
Our congregation has changed and our needs have changed too. Is it possible that the similarities continue?
For the members of St. Peter’s there is another detail that is even more striking. If someone is our average age of 80 years old today, they were 25 in 1962 when our newest building, the sanctuary, was built. Picture someone 25 years old today. Would you expect them to appreciate the facilities we have and maintain them the rest of their lives when the parties have slowed and the need just isn’t there? Why would we expect that from someone who is now 80? For Grace our newest building is also the sanctuary built in 1982. Would you place that burden on someone who was 45 years old?
As we begin a new year I too am reflecting on what has happened and how we best move forward. It makes more sense to me to actively address the mounting issues rather than reacting in a panic when circumstances drive us to react. I will continue to meet with you and see what we can come up with.
Please keep this in your prayers!
Happy New Year!