Hello Unity Friends and Family,
"By Grace It Is Done"
Have you ever tried to figure out how to do something and when you let it go all sorts of ideas came flooding through? That is what has happened at Unity Center.
The Problem: A few weeks ago we weren't sure how we were going to keep me as minister or how much longer we could stay open after letting me go. So much seemed to be up in the air and no guarantees were being offered. There was no simple solution that was going to be done "for" us so that we didn't have to move our feet and change our minds. There weren't any generous parents who were going to rescue us.
It would have been so easy if some benevolent soul had come along and written the center a big check and we could have all gone along unconsciously grateful but unchanged, and unaware of the riches that reside within each of us. I had even asked such a person if they would give Unity Center a large amount so that we could get by for about five months. He was clear that he wasn't ready to give the center that much money if they didn't have a concrete plan of expansion. He did, however, give us a substantial amount to get through the month of September, while we raised funds for the sustaining of a marketing plan.
Three weeks ago David Friedman stood up at the end of a Celebration Service and laid the facts out that Unity Center was just a few weeks away from having to make a decision of whether or not to keep their minister and just live with the $15,000 left in the bank and hope that something could be done in order for the church to survive. He let it be known that we were currently running at a $4,000 a month deficit and had been for some time, and that deficit had eaten away at our savings. He also explained that we needed just $1,000 more a week to put us into solvency. In his figuring it would take fifty people giving $20 more a week to cover the deficit. David had thought of a solution to our current financial issues that could see us through a challenging time and at the same time empower the whole community. He asked how much each individual could give over and above their current level of giving per week. $5? $10? $25? He asked everyone to anonymously write down what they thought they could give. The total that day came to $670. He then passed out pledge forms and asked individuals and families to pledge that amount to be deducted on a credit card each week or as a monthly amount. In these three weeks we have raised in $1,000 more per week.
The result: Unity Center is keeping their minister for another year, we are looking at our space and seeking to steward it thoughtfully and to its greatest advantage. We have even paired down our office space this week, and as a result we are saving $300 in rent.
What's the next step? We clearly cannot survive in "survival" mode, and no one ever thrives by merely trying to survive. My teachings are not about surviving, and if I had left here I would have continued to teach those who were interested, my understanding of prosperity and well being. However, we are now in a position to continue our current level of classes, and events such as: OPEN MIC NIGHT on the third Saturday of every month. We will continue to have concerts and lectures as well as workshops.
We are also taking advantage of the marvelous talent that has stepped up on a volunteer level. Bob Kahn of Kahn Consulting has stepped into a leadership role alongside Maureen Jacobson in advising us on becoming more attractive to the world at large. We took him literally and Doug Kitchen arranged to have paint donated and his troop of volunteers transformed our whole entrance in the building. Carol Canapetti used her landscaping skills to redo our gardens outside the front door.
We have changed our name to Unity Center of Norwalk to make ourselves more accessible and we are in the process of changing our web domain name as well as email address and an elegant new sign for our front window.
Kenneth is working with advisors on getting our name into more listings so that Unity Center of Norwalk may become an easily recognizable destination in Fairfield County.
What is needed from the community at large?: This is not the time to rest and think, "Whew, that's over. Now I can relax." We are not here to stay unconscious. Neither are we here to sit and blame others for "not doing what they should have been doing." We are here to give the word of God away freely to anyone who might want it...including to ourselves. Our message isn't one that is nice to hear but too hard to apply. Our message is generous and kind as well as essential to living in peace and joy. "Friendship Sunday" isn't an event that happens once in awhile. Every Sunday is Friendship Sunday, and what kind of friend are you if you don't at least offer your friends the opportunity to experience an event that fills you?
You, as the community, are the example of consciousness raising that is enhancing planet earth and all who inhabit it. I cannot thank you for giving here, because you haven't given to me, you have given to yourselves. I can thank you for giving me an opportunity to serve you spiritually, but even that you have given to yourselves, just as I give myself an opportunity to serve.
I can thank you for our time together and let you know that I am looking forward to many more prayers together. I will be here this coming Sunday for our talk, "High Praise." and then I'll be away for a few weeks, but I am still available to all who think they can know God better by a phone call with me.
I offer blessings today as we walk together in the Grace of God, because by grace it is done.
Love and Blessings,