Rev. Daniel O'ConnellThe Butterball Turkey Company set up a hotline to answer consumer questions about preparing holiday turkeys. One woman called to inquire about cooking a turkey that had been in her freezer for twenty-three years. The operator told her it might be safe if the freezer had been kept below zero degrees the entire time. But the operator warned the woman that, even if it were safe, the flavor had probably deteriorated, and she wouldn't recommend eating it. The caller replied, "That's what we thought. We'll just give it to the church."

"Giving It to the Church," indeed! Sometimes, if we don't pay attention, it seems like the spirit of creativity, of stone soup, can become the spirit of Scrooge. The story goes like this:

Once upon a time, in the distant past, some folks wanted to get together and create something larger than themselves. They wanted to get together with other folks– to create a church! They wanted to create a place where people could share their history, a place where people could openly explore & present their religious ideas, a place of toleration, of reason, conscience, and the never-ending search for truth.

Their desire was strong, their number small. Long was their reach, swift was their response, creative was their approach to creating a new church as an offshoot from an older one.

The years rolled by. People died, others were born, drifters came & went. Old folks came just in time to find the religion of their dreams. Children grew up in the church, became youth, and moved away, some moved back. New people came, old-timers stayed.

The spirit of operating on a shoestring, the spirit of "making do" stayed; it seemed the right thing to do. But over time, the church grew large, it's children needed materials, its ministers & employees needed a fair wage & benefits, its regional and national associations wanted help, too.

The church moved from folks gathered 'round a living room to something bigger A place of art and music, a place where children could learn, and all could be warm in the winter & cool in the summer, a place to sink into silence, meditation, and prayer, a place to dream dreams. The church planted roots which grew deep, it grew & flowered!

Soon, most of you will be considering your financial pledge to your congregation for the upcoming fiscal year (July through June) and let me say -– thank you! For the consideration.

Your contributions of time, talent, and treasure to your congregation helps make Unitarian Universalism thrive in this part of the country!


Rev. Dr. Daniel ÒConnell
President, Central Midwest District of the UUA
Lead Minister, Eliot Unitarian Chapel
100 South Taylor Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63122
(314) 821-0911 (office)
(314) 397-2383 (after hours)