While attempting to get to the office early this morning, arriving at the new traffic circles, I was met with a stream of idling cars in a line behind the flashing sign,
ROAD CONSTRUCTION AHEAD….USE ALT ROUTE…EXPECT DELAYS…
After three songs on the radio came and went (my guess is approximately 12 minutes) I decided to be present and see what this ‘delay’ might be offering as a learning opportunity.
It made me think of the work we are doing at Chico New Thought Center. It has been like road construction this past year trying to get new things in place and we have been given alternate routes to consider as a way of building this community. And yes, it has often felt like the goals or the Vision had been delayed. And many changes along the way.
Like the traffic circle options, we are offered ALT ROUTES –and the sign does not tell us which ones to take–and there might be further delays if we stay on this road.
What are our alternate routes? Well, we have opened several lines of discussion as to whether or not it’s advisable to remain at Lakeside Pavilion for our church. We have been asking our members to speak up and help us ascertain and define “What does community look like? How do we want it to be or feel? What matters most?”
We have gotten some feedback and some intriguing ideas, too. Last week’s “Meet the Ministers” was so insightful and inspiring. We have the Community Meeting coming up on September 13th after service and we have this blog. Now I realize that a cyber forum is not ideal for all people but it is one avenue we have opened (no delays) as an option for expressing ideas and feelings. From that forum, I am going to post a commentary that a member repeatedly attempted to post but met with techno challenges. This member e-mailed me offline and asked that this comment please remain anonymous as it was intended, and I am respecting that request as one does not have to ‘sign in’ to post opinions.
Here is the post from August 24, 2009:
“The demographics of our ‘future’ congregation take a back seat to the reality of where we meet. Our current building and location do not fit our congregation now or in the near future. Spiritual leaders like Jesus and the Buddha were not restricted by attachment to unwieldy buildings. They met wherever two or more gathered. The Pavillion was about our becoming a mega-church – it was ‘just right’ for back then when we made the move. What is ‘just right’ for us now? We do not honor Revs Carolyn and Mac by draining our financial reserves and flirting with loan default to stay in the Pavillion. We do not serve our congregation with a building expensive to heat and cool; a building with poor acoustics; a building without classrooms; a building with tiny office spaces; a building impossible to navigate for the handicapped; a building dependent on an outside business (Bacios) for financial stability; etc.
Who knew that we would not become the mega-congregation envisioned when we left Hilary Lane for the Pavilion. Who knew Revs Michael and Louie would leave to form their own church. Who knew that the global economy would sour. Who knew that Bacio would falter in providing us income.
Rev Duchess has come to us to guide us to what is right and right sized for us now. She is here to gentle us through the change that has brewed. She is here to vision with us a viable future. She is here to lead us now.
This is a great time to buy real estate – good prices and lots of availability. This is a good time to lease space – good prices and lots of availability. This may not be the best time to sell real estate but the Pavillion is a unique property and is always attractive to investors. Better to sell it than lose it to foreclosure.
Our philosophy is about change and hanging on to a building that doesn’t serve our needs and exhausts our finances is counter to our beliefs. We need a new location and a new space. The new space will have a central meeting hall easy to heat and cool with a focal point on our speaker. There will be classrooms to accommodate children and youth and our nursery. A kitchen will allow us so many opportunities with food for ourselves and those in need. Office and library space. Small meetings space. It can all be ours if we want it.
Our new location will attract our new more broad demographic – college students will bike over, young families will walk over and some of us will drive. Everything about our church will thrive. Its past time for this change. Lets get bold.” <><><>
Even if we are choose alternate routes or might have delays, the one route that I know is infallible is the path of individual spiritual practice and prayer. If each of us as community members will walk that path together, we will arrive at the church on time.