“The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give it away.”
The moment I realized I wanted to join a church was at an event called Blintzapalooza at Temple Beth Hatfiloh in Olympia. Blintzapalooza is Temple Beth Hatfiloh’s annual fundraiser, and all the proceeds benefit local Olympia nonprofits — it’s one of the many ways that Temple Beth Hatfiloh fulfills the Jewish value of tzedakah, or charitable giving. They sell bagels, blintzes, and books. Recently it was their 30th anniversary of their first event — 30 years of their community coming together to bake, to organize, to open their temple to the public, and to give back to their city. Sitting in their social hall eating blintzes and watching the temple member’s bake off being judged, it was strikingly clear: these temple members were connected in a way I hadn’t seen before. The banter, the comradery, and the way they worked in concert to serve the community was truly something special. These people knew one another. They cared for one another. And they were invested in the community they were building together.
I really felt that with our Tahoma UU Congregation at the Rummage Sale. So many people (I lost count after 50 volunteers!) gave in so many ways: gave of their time by sorting and pricing; by working the day of the sale; gave of their household items and financially at the sale; gave of their talents by making signs and social media posts and brownies; and gave of themselves, by making all the work enjoyable, by making friends with one another, by making the work light and equally shared among all of us. I can’t tell you the number of times over the last few weeks I stepped into the church fully expecting a mountain of to-dos in front of me, only to find it had all been taken care of by, usually, a whole bevy of others. And all those others? They had smiles on their faces. We were all pitching in, doing our bit, and managing to have a good time getting it all done!
Not only did we hit our financial goal by all working together, we exceeded it! We opened our sanctuary up to the world at large, and at least a few families verbally expressed their desire to return for a worship service — who knows how many others’ curiosity was similarly piqued? Who knows how many will remember our church and come visit again, or tell a friend? How many people were like me back at Blintzapalooza, watching us working and laughing together, and saying to themselves “These people know one another. They care for one another. And I want to come and help them build a community.”
We have a chance to create this all again, with our upcoming auction on November 3rd. We have a chance to work together to again not only meet but exceed our goal — and to kindle the warmth of community while doing so. We have a chance to contribute our unique skills toward the success our church urgently needs — whether it be by serving on an auction committee, donating an item or event to bid on, making a sweet delicacy for the Dessert Dash, or by bringing guests and raising our paddle at the event itself — we can every one of us contribute our time, talent, and treasure. Giving is a joyous process, and it has the potential to help us grow spiritually, both individually and as a congregation. What is your gift to share?
If you would like to help with the auction, please contact Barbara Tripp or Chris George.
For more information on the Stewardship Committee, please contact Tori Brewster.
Tori Brewster, Chair, Stewardship Committee