Reflections on the Building
Rev. Beth Chronister
When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for; and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that people will say, as they look upon the labor, and wrought substance of them, ‘See, this our parents did for us.’John Ruskin
I recently returned from touring the construction site of University Unitarian Church with other members of the staff. We walked through the meeting rooms and offices, framed but not yet enclosed, and imagined together what it will be like when we return to that space. Beautiful windows run throughout the building, opening up both the upper and lower floors to be flooded with natural light (when the sun so decides to grace Seattle!) and connecting to the surrounding landscape. Religious Education and spaces for small groups to meet and connect abound on both floors and there will even be an elevator to make the building accessible to all!
Even in its still raw state (it will be another 6 months or so before it is completed), it was easy to begin to envision the future generations of children, youth, and adults who will gather there and recreate the church together in the near and distant future. Walking through the chapel, which is being renovated, and Nathan Johnson Hall, which is being re-imagined and yet retains distinctive architectural elements reminiscent of the room as it has been, I could also feel the presence of the generations of church members and leaders who came before us. We are the inheritors of a long line of people who cared so much and believed so intently in liberal religious community that they put their time, energy, and vision to sustain it for future generations. Though much will be new, UUC’s church building is built upon the foundations, literal and spiritual, of the generations who preceded us. This is cause for great gratitude. And now we are members of the generation creating something to pass on to future generations that we can imagine! It is humbling and sobering to be so cognizant of being ancestors in the making. There is a river of time that runs through communities. It did not start with us and it will not end with us. I find this to be a compelling reason for taking responsibility, remembering gratitude, and embracing the experience of awe when within this river of time.
If you have been part of holding UUC or other communities in the past, I thank you for your commitments and your efforts.
If you have contributed to arriving to this stage in the life of our church, I applaud your faithfulness and your vision.
If you have arrived recently and are waiting at the rivers edge to see where you might enter, I invite you to join us as co-creators of community, covenant, and church.