As I’ve mentioned before, I always have a song in my head. Like dreams, at times it takes a little time and effort to recognize, remember and then interpret why it’s there. Today, it’s Salt of the Earth by The Rolling Stones. I found this surprising as I’m not a big Stones fan. That might be why I initially misremembered the lyrics as “Hat’s off to the hardworking people ” when it’s actually “Let’s drink to the hardworking people ”. “Hat’s off” is probably more appropriate for a church newsletter anyway. As I was wondering why that song and why today, I remembered I needed to write this column. (The deadline always seems to sneak up on me). It’s easy to think of a lot of hardworking people around CCUU that I could take my hat off to, if I were wearing one.
Much of this feeling could be captured in a single moment last Sunday as I stood in the doorway of the Sanctuary and the narthex at 11:00 AM. The service had just ended which entailed the combined efforts of our minister, DLRE, music director, pianist, tech coordinator as well as volunteer readers, choir, camera people, ushers, greeters, technovergers and vergers. A large crowd of regular attendees was joined by newcomers and some who hadn’t been in the building for a couple of years. A group of kids and adults was going down the hall to rehearse music for the upcoming auction service, our Church Administrator was fielding questions about everything from t-shirts to more complex matters and our Chalice House team was preparing to start a town hall meeting about the incredible success of that project. Members were bringing in a wide array of items for the Time and Talent Auction. Others were talking excitedly about upcoming groups, projects and committee meetings.
Each of these things represents just the tip of a larger iceberg. In addition to all of their daily work, the staff work hard in each of their disciplines all week to prepare a service that is meaningful to us all. The writing, planning, rehearsing and coordination of that takes dozens of hours. Much of the work of the church is done by volunteers in every area from caring for our physical plant and grounds, teaching our children, coordinating our social outreach, worrying about our finances, participating in educational programs or any of the other areas involved in worship, study and service.
The staff worked incredibly hard during the pandemic to reinvent many of the ways we interact with each other. Volunteers pitched in at every level. We could not have survived the past two years without the staff and some key volunteers. While we are not “out of the pandemic”, we have taken some big steps towards normalcy. With all of the trauma experienced during the quarantine, it was sometimes hard to recruit volunteers. However, there is a new energy emerging towards participation and helping CCUU carry on its mission. Elsewhere in this newsletter, you’ll see a “help wanted” notice. We are looking for people in many areas to help us rebuild some areas that were weakened in the shutdown, expand other areas that were delayed by it, and expand to new horizons. Please read the notice and think of ways you can contribute towards making Countryside everything it can be. Participation is contagious. Working on a project large or small is also a great way to get to know other Countrysiders and express your generosity.
May is designated as a month to show appreciation for teachers, nurses, administrative professionals and all the other occupations that make the world go around. So “Hats Off” to all of the staff and members who have been making CCUU go around. Remember, you can be one of them and we’ll all be taking our hats off to you.
~ Tom Dempsey, President, CCUU Board