I am ashamed to admit this, but when I first started attending Emerson it was all about me. If I felt like getting up on Sunday morning and attending, fine, but if I felt like sleeping in or going to a movie, that was okay too.

Then one day our minister Emeritus Anne Felton Hines preached about the importance of the members of a church community being there for each other. I realized that all the things I was getting from Emerson were being provided by the other members. The music during the service, the technical expertise that makes  the audio work in the Sanctuary and on zoom, the coffee and snacks after the service, the free freshly grown greens from our garden, the opportunities to join in social justice activities by writing  letters and making phone calls and attending marches, the chances to help the environment by petitioning stores to use less plastic, planting new oak trees with local groups, and protesting at banks that invest in fossil fuels,  belonging to the book group and learning to appreciate both fiction and nonfiction, having meaningful discussions about repairing the world in my small group ministry group, the list goes on and on. So I started to ask not just what can Emerson do for me, but what can I do for Emerson?

First, it is important to show up. This church is a community of people who are there for each other, on good days and bad days, a haven of acceptance and hope when we need it most.

Second, talents of every kind can come in handy and help Emerson thrive.

Third, it takes money to maintain the building, plumbing,  heating and air conditioning, keep the lights on, pay our wonderful staff, pay off the loan that made our solar panels possible, keep our technical equipment up to date, etc.

When I think about how much to  pledge, I recall some of my favorite moments at Emerson. I attended my first gay wedding here! I got to know and made food for homeless people who stayed in tents in the old church basement one winter. I helped my SGM raise funds at the rollathon for Shane’s Inspiration, a group that creates accessible playgrounds for disabled children. I taught the UU sexuality class, Our Whole Lives, to teens and also, as a new widow, I took the sexuality for seniors class with a man I was dating and ended up marrying him.

Like a car, Emerson takes me along my journey, and so I tend to picture my pledge as a monthly car payment. But whatever I pledge, I do know it’s not all about me, it’s about all of us.