There's a story about a man who prayed that he would win the lottery. Every night he was on his knees asking the Almighty to grant him a big win. Every morning he awoke disappointed that he was not wealthy. Finally, one night he prayed that heaven would send him a sign so he could win. As he prayed he heard the Goddess’ booming voice from above saying, "I'll let you win the lottery but first you have to buy a ticket!"
Though there might be many morals to this story, I would prefer to believe that the most important moral is that good things do not just happen. The religious services of this church, singing, choir, sermon, sharing, do not just happen. The quality religious education of children in this congregation does not just happen. Fellowship social events do not just happen. Youth group events do not just happen. The outward mission, social justice work, of this congregation does not just happen. The cleaning and maintenance of the building and grounds does not just happen.
All of this takes work and a generous spirit and people willing to give to this community. For many people in the Unitarian Fellowship this means serving on committees, teaching children, planning events, shoveling snow, repairing leaky faucets. In truth, you give much to this congregation. A free church is a challenging place. It must seem at times that besides believing in the priesthood and prophethood of all believers, that we believe in the service of all believers as well.
As you continue to give of your time and money, I want to thank you for supporting liberal religion. Thank you for caring for each other, giving a kind word to those troubled in mind, body and spirit. Thank you for staying late at night at the Fellowship to wrestle with an issue in committee when your body is tired from a full day at work. Thank you for speaking to the child who needs your gentle but firm reproach on Sunday morning. Thank you for speaking to the shy visitor who is anxious about attending her first Unitarian Universalist Sunday service. Thank you for speaking to someone who has lit a candle of concern. Thank you for being willing to change your routine for the good of your church.
Finally, thank you for being willing to adventure into another stage in this church's life. Your commitment to change is amazing and I believe that as long as you are willing to explore new possibilities, you will find growth in every way.
Thank you for supporting and encouraging the liberal religious spirit in this community and in the larger community as well.
See you in church,