I’ve had a few folks ask me if I’d share the poem I wrote and read at the Annual Congregational Meeting. Here it is!
How many trees were felled for the making of this place? And where did they come from? Some came, surely from not so far away rooted and raised in the Northwest rain they knew this land well its culture and climate its soil and soul. Some came from further afield (or further aforest) brought here by mighty ships on mightier swells bringing the beauty and sins of distant lands to this home where they came to live and love. What did the trees look like before they came? Some had a strength and sturdiness that came with great age which they gave to fortify the place, now mighty beams lifting ceiling and sight to Things Above. Some came diseased, deadened, warped and found in the giving of themselves to the place that they now had a place. Some came too rigid and were softened, bent, and in their bending they became instruments for stringed songs violins, guitars, cellos, violas and basses from them rose a resonance a beauty not possible before their bending a freedom not imagined before giving themselves up. How many trees were felled for the making of this place? On the sanctuary ceiling are rows of planks upon planks upon planks easy to overlook or to take for granted and yet if just one was missing everyone would notice the gaping gap and the place would feel forever incomplete. Trees that are now pulpit, font, table handed themselves over to careful carving the chipping away, that something always seen in them that they could not see in themselves might be revealed and discovered, and in the beauty unveiled in the carving, these containers of the Holy point to the beauty of the plain elements they hold bread and cup, water, an old book a heavenly feast, spring of eternal life, the Word made flesh. How many trees were felled for the making of this place? Many trees, and only one tree that cursed tree that sits in the center of the place where the Carpenter gave his life for the forest in their surrender to the Carpenter killed on the tree together they have made and are making and are being made by this place felled trees now trees of the field clapping their hands in joy planted by streams of water in giving their lives up to the place, to the Lord of the place they have been found in their dying, here at last, they live.