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President's Monthly Column

March 2017

I love All Souls.  As I sat in the sanctuary this past Sunday, drinking in all of the joy and peace and strength around me, I was reminded of just how much I love All Souls.

All Souls is special.  Special to me and, I hope, special to you.  All Souls encourages us to stretch our belief in ourselves.  It provides opportunities for growth and for deepening our commitment to the world.  It offers support in times of loss and pain and fear.  And it shares and helps to multiply our joys and celebrations.

One of the primary reasons that I love All Souls is that it is a place full of generosity.  All Souls overflows with generosity – generosity of spirit, generosity of ideas, generosity of love, and yes,  generosity of money.

In his blog post, Deconstructing Generosity, Seth Godin shares these thoughts:

It’s understandable that generosity creates trust, but also worth noting that trust is required to provide generosity. If a well-meaning person started leaving sandwiches all over the airport departures lounge, her goal probably wouldn’t be achieved, because we just don’t trust random unwrapped sandwiches left anonymously in public places…Sacrifice is a crucial element in our perception of generosity. When someone takes the time to share a finite resource, one that they cannot hope to be repaid for, generosity happens. So, favors can’t be generous, because favors imply a sort of gift economy of repayment being due.  Kindness also rides along with generosity. When someone is generous with us but does it begrudgingly, just this one time, don’t ask again, face scrunched with tension, then no, it doesn’t feel generous.

How have you experienced generosity at All Souls?  Has it been accompanied by trust? By sacrifice?  By kindness?  Think about the generous people you know here at All Souls. The room lights up when they walk in, right?  Their quiet radiance fills the room. Their easy manner and gentle laughter calms confusion and reassures those around them. Quite simply, they are generous people.

Author Kennon Callahan shares, “[This] is the transformation required of all of us: to live our lives and put our faith in action as generous people. A generous person lives with a sense of trust and abundance, a willingness to forgive, and the ability to inspire service in others. We all need practice in learning and living generosity.”

As I consider generosity and how it is expressed around me and by me, here are my thoughts:  Generosity is a verb – it requires action. This year, one action my husband, George and I are taking is increasing our pledge by 25%.  This won’t necessarily be easy; important tasks seldom are easy. But this is our commitment, our promise to this Beloved Community. How about you?  How will you express your generosity to All Souls this year? Please share your thoughts and talk about this with others. We are in this together and it takes all of us to create the generous, beloved community that is All Souls. 

In faith and with deep gratitude,

Liz Binger