On September 20 our congregation voted overwhelmingly (96% of those voting) to purchase the property behind us. I want to commend you and recognize the faith you’ve shown in taking this big leap into the future as a group. Making decisions as a group is hard. And trusting your vision (and financial commitment) in the hands of others is, too. These are acts of faith – faith in the vision of Pullen, faith in each other, faith in the value of our role in the larger Raleigh community and faith in a future that is good and worth investing in.
By now, most of you know the Pullen story with the 112 Cox Avenue property. No doubt you have heard the tales of the two times before now when the congregation voted to not buy the property—in 1990 and again in 2007. You probably have also heard of the Friends of Pullen—those courageous souls who formed an LLC in 2007 and purchased the property as a way to extend Pullen’s time frame of considering the church’s need for the property. Now that we are on this side of our latest decision, I have several reflections.
First, I am proud of the way our congregation made this latest decision. The leadership did a remarkable job of shepherding the process with timely and pertinent information. At our congregational meetings to discuss the purchase, people listened and shared with respect. There was an openness to questions asked and ideas shared. And overall, there was a sweet spirit that accompanied the process. Have you ever noticed how things seem to go so much better when there is a spirit of respect?
Second, I think the difference this time has everything to do with timing. NOW, was the right time for our congregation to make this purchase. I don’t believe that the previous two decisions to not buy the property were bad or wrong decisions. The people who were Pullen Church at that time made the best decisions they could make. It doesn’t mean they were right or wrong. It simply means they made a decision given where they were at the time and how they discerned the needs of Pullen at that moment in history. Life is like that, ever changing with the changing of time. Most of the decisions we make are neither right nor wrong, they are simply decisions we make based on where we are in our lives and what our needs are at the time of the decision.
Third, I strongly feel that our “yes” vote is an affirmation of the hope we have for our church now and for the future. In voting to purchase 112 Cox Avenue property, we affirmed a vision and a hope for our future. This vote was not a vote to simply acquire more for the purposes of having more. It was not a vote to say we want to be bigger, or that we believe that bigger necessarily means better. It was an affirmation of our desire to serve our community, to be a good neighbor, to make sure our witness to God’s radical love and inclusiveness remains at 1801 Hillsborough Street for the generations of people who will walk through our front and back doors for the next one hundred and thirty years. There is something to be said for having a vision in life and for making decisions based in hope and not fear. I feel like our community made this latest decision with a vision (that of serving our community) and with hope for our future.
And so I say to you, well done people of Pullen. In a sweet spirit of respect, at this very moment in our life together, we chose a future rooted in hope. Well done, well done!
*This article is taken from the October 2015 Edition of PullenNews.