From The President
Annette Cavender, AM, May 2017
As I look back over the changes our HGSA community has experienced during the past three years, I feel drawn to invoke the mantra that Rev. Jeanie Avila began not long after the fire swept through our sacred grounds: Renew, Rejoice, Rebuild!
As each year passes, our landscape changes a little more. We see more and more growth—and lots of it this year, with all the rain that has blessed our area! While our volunteers do their best to keep the grounds mowed, trimmed, and weed-whacked, to some of us, even the abundance of weeds (or wonderfully wild greenery) this year is a promise of new growth to come. Renewal is here and more is on the way in many forms.
We have much reason to rejoice. We as a community are still here. We may be a little smaller, and our grounds may still look rough around the edges, but we are thriving and gradually able to add to services and programs as our recovery process continues.
New energy is stepping in, both in tangible and less visible ways. We are blessed with new additions to our congregation, who have found their way to us in the years since the fire and who don’t have a conscious memory of what HGSA used to be, and so their experience here is new and fresh and energetic. Some of them have stepped up to become new members, and many carry their own visions of how we might expand into the future, for the highest good of Harmony Grove, her membership, and our community supporters. We welcome the positive contribution that each and every one of these visitors, participants, and new members brings.
Even more important is new energy coming in from Spirit side…or perhaps it is energy that has always been here, but renewed. As our grounds and our lives have gone through transformation at many levels, so many of us are consciously aware of the overwhelming presence of Spirit as we walk our sacred grounds. I invite each of you, the next time you are at Harmony Grove, to spend a little bit of time in the Meditation Garden or sitting next to the creek or standing close to one of our surviving trees, and just breathe in the presence of Spirit. The energy is strong, and it is available for all of us as we move forward into our collective future.
We have been greatly blessed by members stepping up in recent months to revitalize some of our programs and activities, including Ways and Means, which has put on several fun events since last fall. We look forward to even more creative activities in the coming months!
We are grateful to Rev. Coy Johnston, who has returned to guide our Education program through the end of summer so that ordinations and certificates might be awarded on schedule this summer. During a small but very invigorating Spring Institute, we were blessed by Rev. April Cunningham and her students, who lovingly served food in Fellowship Hall. Our spirits were nourished by Institute classes, and our bodies and spirits nourished by some wonderful cooking and fellowship!
We are grateful for all the volunteers who are helping to make Fellowship Hall once again a welcoming place to gather for friendship and joyful communion with fellow travelers. We are also grateful for the volunteers who work on the grounds and in the meditation garden to help prepare for weekend services, psychic fairs, and other events, and for the many others who volunteer their time and energy at all of these functions. In these and so many other ways, Harmony Grove is being renewed with the promise of rising up stronger than ever before, and our volunteers are at the heart of this renewal.
Finally, the crowning achievement of this past year has to do with the “Rebuild!” part of Rev. Jeanie’s mantra. On April 17, after nearly three years of working hard toward this goal, we delivered our site plans to the County. This submittal includes the Minor Deviation to the Major Use Permit application, a modified lot map, and several substantial engineering reports, all required to bring HGSA up to code and into the twenty-first century. While it may take several months to navigate our way through the County approval process, this is an enormous step in moving forward with our rebuild.
For those of you who have been following our progress or have been involved in the planning and preparation of these materials or sat in countless committee meetings, you know that this has been a labor of love and has been full of many twists and turns and unexpected requirements that had to be met before we could take the next step. I cannot put into words my gratitude for each and every one of you who have participated in this process and for all who have held us in love, prayer, and healing energy during these past few years.
I look forward to the year ahead with excitement and optimism for the direction Spirit is leading us and for all the blessings (even surprises) that are in store. It will take every single one of us, following our visions and our dreams and guidance from Spirit to keep alive in our hearts the best of what Harmony Grove has been in the past and to manifest all that Harmony Grove can be in the future.
Renew, Rejoice, and Rebuild!