By Jennifer Gates, CommUNITY Life Coordinator, Unity of SA
Seasons are beautiful to observe. Shifts and changes are a natural part of the world around us, and we accept each shift as an important part of the larger picture, creating the amazing world we inhabit. Such changes are also a natural part of our daily lives. And, although at times we do not like to see them approaching, we still appreciate and learn from every beginning and end. In the Sacred Service area of our Grounds Team, this type of shift is upon us and is opening a wonderful space for some special people – maybe you! – to step into Sacred Service on our campus.
For a number of years, our roses have been lovingly tended by Robbie Roberts, and our overall grounds have been maintained by Loretta Murray (with a little help here and there from her number one fan, husband Gary Murray).
Robbie has already moved in other directions of service to our CommUNITY, and Loretta is now caring for all the plant life on our campus! In this two-part series, I would like to share with you the impact that serving on the Grounds Team has had on the lives of Robbie and Loretta, in their own words. I had a chance to catch up with both of them and learn a little about how they have approached this area of service to our CommUNITY, and how serving has impacted their own personal lives.
In reading Robbie’s story today, and Loretta’s story next week, take a few moments to reflect on not only the beauty and peace you feel when seeing their handiwork on campus, but also on how you may be a part of the new Grounds Team. Over the next two months, you will have the opportunity to shadow Loretta and learn the ropes before taking the reins from her in late fall.
Here is what Robbie has to share about his experience caring for the roses at Unity of San Antonio:
“It has been a fun and learning experience doing the roses for the church, I learned that roses pretty much take care of themselves and are not as delicate as we make them out to be, and I have learned that even though the church family enjoys the gardens, there are more than a few who, though not church members, come and enjoy the garden at lunch or as a break in their busy day. As Jeff Spence, our Music Director, would probably say I view all the folks who visit the gardens with gratitude for it validates the work we put in. It is a joy to create and care for the gardens as well as the roses, I usually put in the time it takes for watering. The bushes only take a few minutes (30ish) to clean up but watering can take a while. In the dry years (yes I remember those) it worked out to about 10 to 15 minutes per rose bush so about 1 to 2 hours can be taken total, but it’s only once a week and other plants and projects can be done while waiting on the watering to finish up. And remember, too much water is nearly as bad as not enough!
When looking at the sacred service work I have done with the roses on our campus, and our UCSA core values, I definitely feel the connection between the two. There is peace, there is rest and the thought that life can be a bit slower. There is a calling that if this garden is filled with beauty and peace then maybe this church is also. There is the fact that as life changes there is still something that can anchor us and give us a bright spot to rest.”
Yes, Robbie, you are correct – life does change, and the bright spot you have helped create does indeed help each of us weather these changes. Your UCSA Community is immeasurably grateful for the time and dedication you have given us. Thank you for your beautiful words which certainly serve as motivation for the next Green Thumb to step forward in service.
Next week, tune in to read Loretta’s account of her love of tending to plant life. And, in the meantime, turn within to contemplate your part in creating the beautiful campus we all enjoy. I would love to hear from you with thoughts, questions and ideas for your role with our Grounds Team! Click here to contact Jennifer Gates, CommUNITY Life Coordinator