In the Dreams of God
Building Fundraiser 2023
God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your children will prophesy, your young people will see visions,
your old people will dream dreams.
In God’s dreams
These words from Joel, are the first words of the apostle Peter to the infant church. It is the start of his sermon to the people present at Pentecost, the founding moment of this precious Body of Christ. It is the birth call of our Christian community and it is the ongoing promise of God for us. God is a living God, who never stops dreaming of the endless possibilities of justice, freedom and love for their beloved children. And we are invited to dream alongside God, to build towards a church beyond our wildest imagination. A community, where children have a say, where the young can express their vibrant ideas and where the old are still encouraged to dream, too. A community that centers the voices of those marginalized, follows the lead of those neglected and listens to those overlooked. In the dreams of God, there is a church, where God's expansive love and justice is already real - here and now.
The dream of our church
In these following weeks, kicking off at Pentecost following the earliest church, we will center ourselves on these dreams: God’s loving dreams for us and our dreams for the church inspired by God. The last time we communally discerned together what God might have in store for us, we came up with this calling:
First Church Somerville lives to make God's expansive love and justice real through radically inclusive sanctuary, authentic connection, spiritual exploration, and transformative community engagement.
In this season, we are invited to keep this dream alive, to expand on it and to take action towards it. We will pray, worship and sing together. We will celebrate our vibrant and diverse community and ponder how to share this sense of belonging even further. And we will raise funds to make this happen - to make concrete changes that will aid us in realizing the community of our dreams.
Living out the dream
The money, we collect as a community, will enable us to take this action and to build the church of our dreams in a variety of ways:
A significant part will go to our chancel project: Redesigning and building our chancel has been part of the dreams of the church for a while and beloved members advocated for it with their whole heart and effort. We are excited that we are making this dream a reality now. The message of God’s love is not only communicated in what we say or do but also in the very way our space is built and used. Walls, steps, doors communicate who is truly welcome at God’s table - and who is not. As people of faith are constantly growing, learning and discerning in the spirit, our community has decided that it is time to make our altar space finally accessible to all - helping to make God’s radical welcome a tangible reality for everyone.
Similarly, we will also use fundraising money to make our Francesca Avenue door fully accessible. We are a space that is a host and sanctuary to many communities, and part of this calling is to ensure that our doors can be (literally) open(ed) to everyone.
Finally, we will also invest money in maintaining and renovating other church spaces, like Tracy Hall and the parsonage. Dreaming of the church we aim to be, also includes making sure that future generations can use this space to live out God’s love in word and deed, too. Being able to use these spaces and to rent them out to support our ministries, plays an essential part in enabling our community to work out God’s dreams for God’s people.
We are pulling together different church resources and a generous gift by one of our members to make this dream happen. With this particular fundraiser, we aim to raise $30,000 to close the gap between where we are at and where we want to be. If you want a detailed description of our income and budget for these projects, you can find more information here.
While we are growing towards the goal of thirty thousand, the seeds are already laid. Members of this beloved community have already donated $3800 to start us off. We hope you can join them till June 25, when we will officially close the fundraiser at our Annual Meeting.
How can I help make our dream come true?
First of all, we invite you to donate: Contribute what you are able to give. Every dollar makes a difference on the path to our dream.
You can donate in different ways: We are able to accept and track donations of cash, checks, and PayPal. We also have Vanco payment processing. Vanco requires that folks complete authorization paperwork before giving. We are encouraging givers to use cash or check, including a check sent from your bank's online bill pay, if possible. PayPal and Vanco charge fees so we don’t receive the full donation.
When using a check, cash in envelope or one of our online services, please remember to use the MEMO line “Dream Fundraiser.” This way we can make sure the money goes where it belongs.
Second, pray for each other and your community. We are not meant to do this work alone. As our Bible quote says: God poured God’s spirit onto us. The divine is here with us on this journey. We are dreaming and discerning together with God.
Third, talk to others! Share the dreams you have for this beloved community of God. Share it with people at church and beyond. Invite people to consider a donation. Tell them your visions and dreams for the church and why it is important to you to take action!
Let’s dream together
What a blessing it is to have such a vibrant and loving community as ours!
Let’s translate that love into action.
Let’s dream as a community, together with the Living God.
Let’s build the church we want for us and our future generations.
With your help.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
With gratitude for your generosity,
Your Fundraising Team
Liz Fortner, Melissa St. John, Catherine MacLean, Jeff Banks, Bonnie Engelbart, Michael Streib