A post from UUA Executive Vice President Kathleen Montgomery.
I used to live in a lovely house in Atlanta. Not very big, but incredibly charming. Slate roof. Old brick. Acre lot. Lots of trees and flowers. We brought our sons home to it as newborns and they became teenagers there. We all loved it. Now, whenever any of us are near, we drive by and get sentimental.
The day came when it was time to move on. That decision was hard and exciting and scary. I never wish I still lived in that house in Atlanta but oh, the precious memories!
That’s how I feel about the UUA’s decision to sell our Beacon Hill buildings. I dearly love 25 Beacon Street and rarely come into the building (as I have almost every day for thirty years) without reveling in the memories it contains and its stately elegance. Almost every room in it is embedded with stories that remind me of the people who have been in them, ones I know and care about and others who were gone long before my time. Lots of laughter, some tears, marriages in the chapel, endless meetings, important decisions, scheming and planning and watching change happen, watching the Association grow, build on the past, and become more clear about its mission.
Best memory: the era when the Massachusetts State House struggled with the issue of marriage equality and we hung huge signs facing the State House that said things like, “Civil Marriage is a Civil Right.” The demonstrators and the politicians couldn’t miss them.
I love all the memories and get sentimental thinking about them (well, okay, I get sentimental pretty easily). But you know what? It’s time to move on. That belief didn’t come easily or quickly to me but I grew into it with certainty.
We need a different kind of space that fits the time we find ourselves in. We need to unburden ourselves of buildings that are about the past and not about the present and the future. We need to acknowledge that bearing the enormous cost of bringing Beacon Hill buildings into the 20th century, forget the 21st , would be foolish.
So we’ll take our memories with us as we move on—no one and no building can take them away. They’re ours. They’ll always be ours. Now it’s time to move to a new, fresh, innovative space and create new memories.
Executive Vice President
Unitarian Universalist Association