From The President
Annette Cavender May 2018
Moving Forward Together: Resilience, Harmony, and Transformation
In her cover article, Vice President Rev. Mindy Sloan wrote about trailblazers and pioneers and our collective work “bringing peace to the Grove, our communities, the Earth, and across dimensions in places where we have never been.”
This is, in fact, the work in which we are actively engaged at Harmony Grove, and it is the work we have always done since the pioneers first found their way to this beautiful valley in 1896.
Sometimes, over the course of our 122-year existence, we have done this work very visibly. Sometimes we have done it quietly, without fanfare, with our shoulders to the wheel, diligently doing the hard work necessary for the higher good of our beloved community. Sometimes we have done our work very well, in communal harmony. At other times we have struggled and stumbled and challenged each other and acted as catalysts for individual and collective change. At every point, be it in times of collective harmony or interpersonal strife, Spirit has always been at the helm…the driving force challenging us to expand our vision of who we are and what we can become, as individuals and as a community.
The 2014 Cocos fire challenged and changed us in ways we could not imagine at the time and in ways we are still processing. In the four years since, we have been clearly focused on rebuilding the physical structures lost in the fire, as we continue to navigate the complex labyrinth of county and state regulations and approval processes, one step at a time.
We are experiencing transformation in every possible way—and not just in our physical structures.
During my time as President, my vision has always been to honor the best of who we have been in the past and bring it with us into our future as we strive to become the best of who we can be as a collective whole.
The time for divisiveness is long past. It left when fire raged through our beloved home and changed our physical landscape. It took a lot from us, and many have grieved for much of the past four years over what was lost—again, not just the physical, but also our emotional connection to our spiritual home.
But it also became a time to move into action, to reflect on how we envision our future, to reconsider how we might work a little more harmoniously and lovingly as we blaze this new trail. We were left with all we needed to continue our work as we move forward. Our progress may be slow, but as I look back over the four years since the fire, I can’t help but feel recommitted to, even energized by, the process.
We are making progress on revitalizing our buildings. Work on the cabin side of Sunshine will soon be complete, with the classroom side to follow. Quincey Cottage has been restored as a long-term rental unit. The Library restoration has been completed and now houses the Education Program and a makeshift bookstore.
And earlier this year, we had an impromptu ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first building to be constructed onsite since 2014. It is a small (and incredibly sturdy!) paint shed built from the ground up by one of our newer members. This is a small testament to our resilience, and we are grateful for the hours of love, volunteer labor, and donated financial resources that went into this first building to be erected since the fire.
Volunteers are our lifeblood at Harmony Grove, and I want to personally thank each and every HGSA member and supporter who has volunteered time, energy, and resources during the past year. Whether you have volunteered one time for a few hours or faithfully send in financial donations or come to the Grove weekly to work on the grounds or in church services or Fellowship Hall or any other capacity, each and every one of you is vital to our work at HGSA and our forward momentum.
Every year since the fire, I have looked ahead with enthusiasm, reflecting on what was accomplished during the previous year and excited for the potential to…finally…break ground on a new church and see building begin on residents’ homes. This year is no different, although I perhaps have a more realistic sense of the extensiveness of the County approval process.
Meanwhile, we continue working to expand and refine programs and services to meet the needs of our community during this transitional time, and this is the area in which we are making the most tangible progress as we patiently await our time to begin physical construction.
I invite each of you to join us in this exciting time, in whatever way you are able… attending church services and fellowship over lunch afterwards, participating in circles and classes, coming down on a weekend and lending a hand with watering or tending to our gardens, helping out in Fellowship Hall during events, or just sending your love and energetic support our way…there are so many ways to become involved in this beautiful Harmony Grove community.
Thank you all for your support of HGSA in the past year, and I look forward to seeing each of you at the Grove soon!
In Peace, Love, and Harmony,
Rev. Annette Cavender
President, HGSA Board of Directors