I Love This Church! by Suzanne Laurel

I love this church. When I moved here from the Midwest 23 years ago, knowing no one but my new work partners, I found this church and it became my new family. And though some of its members have come and gone, Saltwater Church has been a constant for me. Ministers, too, have come and gone, but the heart and soul of Saltwater—its mission, its aspirations and achievements—endure and nourish my soul week after week.

I remember when my son was born, 21 years ago. We were in interim then, as now, with another wonderful interim minister and a caring DRE. Greg came with a birth defect we did not expect and it was a shock. Having a visit from that minister, and later from the DRE–even before we’d taken him home–was a true blessing. When a friend visits, they bring love and support which is wonderful. When a church representative visits, it feels like they bring the love and support of a whole community- which they do. And what a gift that is.

This church has also given me a place to learn, to teach, to hear and try new ideas, to listen, to love, to worship, to serve and be served, to act and witness action, to laugh and cry, to be myself and be more than myself, to be real and true and spiritual. Coming to church is like a vacation day—it rejuvenates and energizes. I have received so much here, and so I want to give back.

As UUs, we chose and direct our own spiritual path, but it is this coming together to “nurture each other, to find meaning and connection within our lives and to contribute to our communities with our hearts, mind, hands and spirit,” that is the difference worth paying for.

I give money to this church because it works. It feels good, it does good, it is good. It’s the charitable donation that gives back manifold. Indeed, even if it wasn’t tax deductible, it would be good value! I am glad to contribute to fair share salaries for our staff. I am jazzed that the money I work so hard to earn helps keep these buildings clean, safe, beautiful and available to all our community. I am proud that the financial support I give in turn supports so many more individuals in programs that matter to them—social justice, earth justice, education, and more. Through my pledge each month, I feel like am marching with you when you march for immigrant rights or fossil fuel reductions or when you carry supplies to Hospitality House. And I am excited to fund a ministerial search:  WOOHOO!

So, for all these reasons I give to Saltwater. And I give till I feel it. I give until it feels really good. I give at the 5% tithe level and declare myself Beacon. Thank you, my congregation, for accepting me and my pledge. May we both continue to be worthy of the gifts we give to and receive from each other for many years to come. Blessed be.