Looking Back in Time to See Our Future
In 1927, when the congregation of the then First Unitarian Church decided it was time to invest in building our current facilities, they could not have envisioned what the future would hold. Yet, they had the faith and vision to believe that it was a worthwhile investment of their time, money, and energy. Now, almost 100 years later, it is hard imagine what our lives would be like, indeed what our entire community would be like, without the First Unitarian Church standing as a “Beacon on the Hill” for the progressive voice in Utah.
But, let’s imagine for a moment what it would be like if they had decided NOT to build this beautiful chapel and social hall. Imagine what your life would be like if there was no First Unitarian Church to go to on Sunday, no place to send your children for a liberal religious education, no choir filling our soul with their music, no community that shares your values, no church that is not afraid to stand up for human rights and equality for all.
Taking it a step further now, imagine what the greater Salt Lake community would be like if the First Unitarian Church had never been built. We provided the first home to Salt Lake Acting Company, hosted the first Salt Lake office of Planned Parenthood, provided and continue to provide a place for the Community Cooperative Nursery School. We offer Jazz Vespers and other programming free to the public, we speak out on human rights and environmental issues, we help furbish homes for international refugees, tutor children at Mountain View Elementary School, make sandwiches for the Salvation Army, and so much more. Perhaps some of these community benefits would have occurred without our presence, but many would not have come into being if the First Unitarian Church had not been built.
I hope that today, almost 100 years later, we can all find the same faith and vision of our forbearers. This campaign is not about building a building; it is about so much more. It is about a future we cannot yet see, but must have the faith and vision, as those before us did, to put our own time, money, and energy into creating. Just think of the possibilities to affect positive change in our own lives, the lives of others, and our entire community if we take the steps now to protect, preserve, and improve our current facilities.
Yes, we will have a larger kitchen, a larger social hall with room for all, a building that won’t fall down if an earthquake hits, an elevator for access to upstairs, and solar panels on our chapel roof, but most importantly, we will have created a welcoming space for tomorrow, a space where the First Unitarian Church can continue to nurture and challenge the spiritual and intellectual journey for all generations and actively engage in building a progressive and just world.