By Reverend Carol Rosine
As retirement approaches, I’ve been receiving thanks from some who credit me with “saving” this church of ours. Well, it may be true that having consistent ministerial leadership for so long has helped, but believe me, I can’t claim credit for the vibrant congregation we’ve grown into or our gorgeous UU campus at 262 Chestnut Street.
A colleague. Patrick O’Neill, tells this story about visiting the 800 year old Cathedral of Chartres in France. “Not far inside the cathedral I found myself standing at the foot of one soaring, magnificent window, with hundreds of pieces of mosaic glass of all colors. It seemed to recount the entire Old Testament; it was so elaborate and exquisite. At the very bottom of the window there was a small frame that showed a cobbler, a shoemaker huddled over his worktable.
Our guide saw me studying this image. ‘This is the Shoemaker’s Window,’ he explained. ‘It was installed in 1201 and is considered one of the most beautiful of all. It was a gift from the shoemakers of every village in France, who each contributed whatever they could, even the smallest coins, to commission this work of art of God’s house. The royalty and the wealthiest nobles of France gave some of these windows, but this window was a gift of the shoemakers.”
Another window was given by village water-carriers from all over France. Butchers gave another. Fishmongers gave one. Vine-growers and tanners gave windows in the same manner. As did masons and furriers and drapers, and weavers, coopers and carpenters and cartwrights. The blacksmiths gave a window, and the milliners gave one, and the apothecaries gave one too. ‘These windows, many of them’ said my guide, ‘were given one mosaic at a time, piece by piece, coin by coin, by people who wanted to contribute something beautiful to last the ages.’
And so it has been here in Franklin, my friends. Our congregation has not been the vision nor the work of one person. We have done this together, those of us who have loved it, worked for it, and supported it as we’ve been able. I want you to know that it has been such a privilege to witness the way in which each of you has brought the mosaics that have created the awesomeness that is our church.
With so much love… always,