Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Looking back, looking forward

The carcasses of spent balloons litter the floor.

Someone rigged the coffee machine with duct tape and an urn receptacle.

Staff shuffle chairs and video equipment in preparation for the afternoon seminar - perhaps a little more slowly than usual.

The post-apocalyptic state of the course room indicates its recent use as a child room.

All indications point to the fact that we had a New Year's event last night!

 What better way to say "Goodbye" to 2012 than to watch as the St. Louis Way to Happiness chapter was acknowledged in a 20-minute segment at the event!

And why not?

The St. Louis chapter has done something that hasn't been done in many other places -

We have now distributed copies of The Way to Happiness to over 20% of the population of the city.  Distribution of the booklet continues right now with the help and participation of both government groups and numerous non-profits.

Barry and Claire have now been asked to speak at an upcoming international convention to help other cities repeat their successful pattern.

2012 was a phenomenal year in other ways as well.

The St. Louis Church doubled the number of auditors and supervisors this year - and every one of our auditors is now Clear or OT.

Adam Heft is back from his training at Flag, on fire and productive.  I'm already getting rave successes from the parishioners who he's overseen, and the auditors are beaming with pride.

The designs and plans of the new building and our test center are now fully done.  Next will be the construction documents, then the permits, and then...

We recently took a group of building fundraising advocates to LA - the second-largest group to ever attend this event - and we all toured the facilities that create the new building plans and toured the Los Angeles church.

I couldn't ask for a better year... or a better group to work with.

Now that we have officially begun 2-0-1-3, let's name some goals to accomplish over the next 365 days.

1.  Continue The Way to Happiness distribution.

Barry and Claire have set a target for 1 million booklets distributed over the coming year.  Distribution of this booklet is always accompanied by a drop in crime - a proven fact.  This is an excellent strategy to lessen the danger of the environment.

2.  Double again the number of supervisors and auditors.  

This target gives the Church a better chance to help more people.  An org is an auditing factory that also trains people to audit.

3.  Finish the tuck pointing and windows in the new building.  Get permits for construction approved by all agencies. 

 The tuck pointing and windows can be done in the spring.  This gives a short-term fundraising goal... and it'll make the building look purty.

4. Double the number of Humanitarians for the Church fundraising project. 

 Humanitarians are the keystones of the fundraising project.  Every new Humanitarian sparks dozens of more participants and additional donations.

I am looking forward to a very productive year with all of my friends.  You are an incredible group of people to work with and I am fortunate to be a part of this group.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Why is he holding an egg?

"Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness." - Carlyle

"What magnificent fun to be engaged in work which can do so much for so many and where our personal contribution counts for so much.  Give your will, mind, and heart to each great cause in which you are involved.  Though we in this profession represent a diverse group, we are joined together in a calling of tremendous consequence.

"Very few in a lifetime are given the opportunity to make such a substantial difference to society. We are bestowed that role and accept the challenge.

"The immense good we do diminishes the agony of the long hours and disappointments.  There are peaks and valleys, but we remember most the peaks.  We glorify the high leaps.  We celebrate the barrier-breaking new horizons we make possible.  We love our work, and we are sustained and cheered in knowing how immense our contribution is.  We are truly the blessed, fortunate enough to be in this business.  We are the veritable soldiers of change."  
                                                Jerry Panas

To everyone who attended the "Invitation to Freedom" fundraiser on Saturday - please accept my gratitude for a wonderful evening.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Is Easter better than Christmas?

Growing up in an agnostic household, I considered Easter to be a minor holiday.  It sufficed as an excuse to eat candy and go to grandma's for dinner, but it was otherwise unremarkable.  The Easter bunny was a Santa wannabe - perhaps an apprentice to Santa, who was the head holiday honcho.

Make no mistake, I still thought Easter was great.  Any holiday in which the lead role was played by a bigger-than-life altruistic rabbit that delivered baskets of goodies while my sister and I weren't looking trumped the several holidays without such characters.  Easter may have been a shadow Christmas, but it was an improvement over St. Patrick's day, Valentine's day or even Halloween.

Now that I'm a bit older and I have come to a better understanding of the significance of the holidays, I wonder if Easter may not be better in some ways than Christmas as a celebration that can be enjoyed by people of all faiths.

Spring has long been recognized as a time of renewal and rebirth.  It is the time that Persephone returns from her stint as Queen of the Underworld, assuaging her mother's grief and allowing crops to grow once again.  In Egyptian mythology, it is the time that Osiris is reborn.  Many of the symbols that attend the Easter celebration are symbols of fertility and birth.

In my view, however, the Christian celebration of Easter is far more poignant than these other tales.  It is a celebration of the immortality of the spirit - and a demonstration that the spirit lives on, regardless of persecution, abandonment by friends and bodily death.

Holidays are an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the "higher truths."  They give us a chance to lift our heads above the mundane and give some thought to the themes we are creating in our own lives.  What with the intense advertising and expectation that accompanies Christmas, the holiday hardly allows time for reflection.  For this reason, I can't think of a better holiday to give serious thought to such themes as spiritual immortality and the chance at our own "rebirth" from our current condition into a better state than Easter.

Please join me April 7th at 6:30 at our new auditorium.  We will start the evening with snacks, followed by a gospel choir and a further exploration of the concepts I've started to discuss here; and we will end with a round of fundraising to benefit the renovations of our new building.  I promise you will have a great time listening to incredible music, seeing the new auditorium, being with your friends and hopefully learning a thing or two along the way.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Where we belong

This is a wonderful story about the history of Lafayette Square - the future home of our new church.  I love the fact that the people who built up this community and saved it from literal wreckage did so in the face of "reasons" that it wouldn't work.  There is a lesson here that constructive activities are not always recognized as valuable by "the powers that be" or by a middle-class-hold-onto-everything-very-carefully mindset. This history is part of the reason why it is such an honor to have the opportunity to be part of this special community.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 16, 2012

The best Friday story ever

The Huffington Post today posted a story about what may be the greatest statement of appreciation of all time.  

Know that this is how I feel about you... and that's pretty sweet.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Time, Place, Form and... Event!

The Place:
The Missouri History Museum

The People:

The Event:

Mr. Barney Bradshaw, a speaker at the History museum, told several tales of heroism and sacrifice that are an integral part of St. Louis history, Ms. Kathy Jordan received an award from the "Stop the Killing" initiative for her help in bringing The Way to Happiness to the community, and everyone was given an opportunity to give a gift for the future of St. Louis - our new church building.

The Result:

The evening was a rave success.  Thank you to all who attended and gave gifts, and to all who worked to make the event happen as smoothly as it did.  What a marvelous way to kick off the new year!

"Goodness is the only investment that never fails."
- Henry David Thoreau

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