The week before Easter we had our own small renewal. Three new banners were mounted on the end wall of the Bortin Hall and three much smaller versions were strung over our sign on Eckley Lane. A number of you remarked on the banners—a number of visitors that day said they made them feel at home and welcomed. One visitor shared that she has had a fear of churches from her younger days and yet seeing the banners as she drove onto the campus gave her an immediate sense of comfort and made it feel as if she need not be so uneasy.
What I like about the banners and why I am grateful to the Board and to Doug Tamo who executed the Board’s decision with such prowess, is that they are the result of our committed dialogue as a community. The original decision to hang the banner grew out of the use of our public witness process which involved the collection of signatures and two congregational conversations as well as a vote. And the concerns about the banners were revealed as part of the listening sessions held over the winter and spring. Some wanted them more prominent and others felt our church sign was overwhelmed by them. Our elected leaders, me as the called minister and our appointed leaders such as those who serve our facilities so well were all involved. For me, that is the beauty of the banners which reflect the best of our open and engaged decision process.
I do understand that some may still not like banners or the idea of banners or the idea of any kind of witness. This has been true when many people of faith have been called out by their times to be more vocal and make their values a sanctuary. I am sure that individuals have ideas about how to do it better.
Please hear me, I do understand that some people still have not engaged in direct conversation and I welcome that for the spreading of indirect information results in distortions and exaggerations which drive us further apart.
The banners now hang on what was a somewhat drab side of the building offering a cheerful and colorful path of entry into our hall. Before them lies a planter box which has been long neglected. As Doug Tamo proposed it would be a great space for a rainbow garden. Anyone interested in making that so?
With gratitude, Leslie
Rev. Leslie Takahashi serves as the Lead Minister of the Congregation. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.