Vision has as much to do with looking back as it does imagining the future…..
In the past Newsletter (Sept – Nov) there were four individuals lifted up who have served the church community over many years, their stories taken from one of the written histories of Vista Grande. Yes, four; not three as was written a couple times… math not being my strong suit. All jokes aside, the error was mine, and inadvertently left off was a request that any errors, in-completions, or corrections be brought to my attention so that this ‘recalling’ might be as exact as is possible.
Another request is this: There is a reason each of you call Vista Grande UCC your home church. Could you share that reason? How did those of you who were founding members decide to literally ‘Be the Church’; what was it like to take that step out in faith and start a church? And then, build the sanctuary?
For those who came later: What brought you to Vista Grande, whenever that might have been? Why do you stay? What compels you to make the effort to
be engaged? What is it that you find feeding your soul? What is your connectedness?
As Rev. Clare is wont to say, “These are not rhetorical questions!” Inquiring minds want to know. As you look back at your involvement, be it months, years, or decades, what have been the high-lights for you? And as our symbolic bird Bono Adinka is doing when you look back what is it
that you wish to bring forward that is wisdom for our times, for times to come?
No history is complete if it is the reflections of one individual as that history relies on that one person’s observations as well as the individual’s decision of what is important to include and what will be left out. In accessing one record of the church, others are neglected. Input from many individuals would be enlightening and make for a more complete record, so it is hoped that what is presented here sparks memories and recall, and that each of you will share it in whatever way is comfortable.
In the record, it was 1989 that Carol Wisely-Puterbaugh first shows up, helping as Assistant Moderator. Again, in 1992, 1993, 2000, 2001 Carol is Program Chair… and we’d like to know what this entailed. In 1995 Carol was Clerk, then in 2012 and 2013 was Member at Large.
Donna and Dave Bristow’s involvement begins to appear in 1991 when Dave is Worship Committee Chair and Donna is Membership Chair. In 1992 Dave is Assistant Moderator and Donna continues with Membership. 1993 Dave was Moderator and Donna was Clerk. Dave becomes Treasurer in 1994 and Donna moves to Assistant Moderator. Donna is Moderator in 1995 with Dave continuing as Treasurer; Dave continues as Treasurer in 1996, 1997 and Donna is Worship Chair in 1997, 1998, 1999. Dave becomes Financial Secretary in 1998 to 2000. Donna takes the staff position of Administrative Coordinator in 2001 to present. Both Dave and Donna are listed under Renew and Move Forward Task Force in 2004, with Dave as Treasurer through 2006.
Bob Hollins is first mentioned in 1995 in the position of Membership, continuing through 1998, and again on the Renew and Move Forward Task Force in 2004
Interestingly both Jerry and Jackie Moore are listed as Membership in 2000. Jerry is Member at Large in 2005, possibly Co-Moderator in 2006 and Co-Assistant Moderator as well (this would be interesting to sort out!) Jerry is Treasurer in 2007-2011.
These individuals are listed in a history of the church only by the positions they held on the Executive Council: all of us know that they, and the others previously mentioned, have served the Vista Grande UCC community in a myriad of ways in addition to these positions. That history, long in service to this community, is not noted in the record. In my memory, wasn’t there a food drive that Jackie helped coordinate for many years? And who can forget Bob’s incredible fruit sculptures for every occasion, be it a grand event or simply Sunday Fellowship time? Jerry was the ‘go to’ guy for how to get out stains on the concrete, replace the light, and so, so much more. Dave has been the media guy, has served on Association and Conference committees, has been a delegate to National, has been the tech guy on the mysterious console that runs the sound system (something akin to the Wizard of Oz, he is the man behind the curtain.) Carol has stepped up and stepped in for so many things around the church; she has cleaned, she has been in choir, she has helped with worship… and the list goes on. I won’t even try to list all that Donna has taken on, well beyond her duties on staff: She has been the heart of the programing for the children for so long, acting as membership clerk, has been the liaison to Association and Conference committees, serving with distinction…. and will start editing heavily if the list goes any further.
I don’t mind saying that I get verklempt just thinking of the human hours invested in this idea of a progressive UCC church not just surviving but thriving in Colorado Springs; a church that proudly states it is Open and Affirming, a Peace and Justice church, and has been a Five for Five in terms of mission giving long before there was a Five for Five designation. Vista Grande is known in the Conference for its lay leadership within the church community, in its outreach to the greater community, to the Association, Conference and beyond. All VG has been and continues to be is because of the people that are invested here, planted here, and flourish here.
This is the long line of the Saints in Light (those who walk in the way of Jesus) right here, right now; their memories reach back to embrace those most of us do not know; they stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before even as they reach down to those who come after, pulling us up with them. They truly are able to look back to bring forward the bigger story of Vista Grande UCC, to share how VG began as the germ of an idea to what is now.
If there is one thing for me that stands out as what I’d like to ‘go back and get’ to bring forward, it would be the stories and the examples of these (and many others) who have committed their time, talent and treasure unstintingly that Vista Grande UCC might be a force for justice, peace, compassion and outreach. They live into the invitation that all are welcomed here, wherever you are on life’s journey, that there is a place for you to offer whatever it is you have to this adventure in faith. The example they have been, and continue to be, lives long with us as it inspires us to be more than we ever considered we might be.
Next time: A few more from the history book… and hopefully some recollections and reflections from others sharing what their connectedness is, why they are invested in and with Vista Grande UCC. Send these to email@example.com, or call (719) 439-2321