A Love Letter to the Library

On May 28th from 11:45 am to 12:30 pm, Annie Christensen and Didi Graves will be hosting a ritual goodbye to our Library. Over the coming year we will be celebrating the life of each room at Seattle Unity, saying our goodbyes and expressing our gratitude.

Our culture frequently skimps on the saying of farewell, as it can be painful. We choose to move on, keep busy, and skip those feelings. This can be particularly true for something so big and so significant as our spiritual home, our church building. Didi and Annie want to present opportunities to take part in rituals to notice this grieving process, and support each other through this, which is also a celebration and an honoring process.

We will begin with the Library.

[Annie] This room, our Library, has served us so very faithfully as the favorite meeting space for so many meetings and groups. Many people, (who have never in their life checked out a book from the Library) still love the Library, and all the events that have taken place in this room. From a variety of classes and groups to lengthy prayer vigils to parties and potlucks, this room has provided an intimate space for people to connect with each other for decades.

When I first came to Seattle Unity in 1994, Rev. Robbie Fahnestock was leading a “Course in Miracles” group in the Library every week. That group was my lifeline for years, and my introduction to Seattle Unity.

I remember celebrating my dear friend Eleanor’s 85th birthday in the Library. Our wonderful Rymii’s goodbye celebration and Rev. Karen’s anniversary of ministry are just two more of my special Library memories. The Prayer Chaplains, a group very dear to my heart, have been meeting in the Library for more than a decade.

[Didi] One of my favorite things about working in the library was when Rymii would stop in for a chat. She was the business manager at that time. We had many a heartfelt talk there in the library.

[Annie] If you’ve experienced something rich and rewarding in the Library, join us on May 28th and share your story. If it was a big celebration, bring pictures you have of the event. What has happened to you in our Library?

[Didi] I have been the librarian here for a number of years. I’ve always had a thing for libraries ever since I was a little kid. The Carnegie library in my home town of Boise was a place I visited often. It was a place of refuge for me. The kids’ section was in the basement and there was a wonderful mural on the wall. I remember well the library of my elementary school. I read The Yearling from that library. That book made an indelible mark on my heart.

When I came to Unity, I was excited to see we had a Library! This has not been an ordinary library for me. It’s been more like an oracle. Many times while perusing the shelves I would pick up a book at random and it would be exactly the message I needed at that moment.

I would like to give a special thank you to a man I never met. His name is William L. Baker. He was the president of the Board (during the 60’s I think) and it was his memorial fund that built our library. One of his last official acts was to hire the carpenter to begin the work. Thank you, Mr. Baker!

When I started as assistant librarian, Connie Pearce was the head librarian. She had been volunteering here for about 25 years. She looked quite stern when I would see her at church so I was bit intimidated by her. Working with her turned out to be such a pleasure. She was funny and warm, very literate, very kind. She loved going out hiking – well into her 80’s. And she was a dogged book detective. If a book went missing, she would hunt it down with all her might. I remember after she left we got a book back that she had been pursuing for 5 years! I had to call her up and tell her. Thank you Connie for contributing so much love and effort to our library.

[Annie] Another treasured library volunteer who worked with Connie was Ed Bender. Gruff and big, they sometimes joked that he was “Connie’s enforcer” – but he had a loving heart as big as the ocean.

[Didi] A big thank you to all the other volunteers over the years who created and maintained this wonderful jewel.

Our Library is our Unity history. There are so many books by Unity teachers from the early days: Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, Marcus Bach, Eric Butterworth and many, many more. When I am in the Library I think about all the authors sharing their wisdom and teachings. It’s very profound. I have so much gratitude and love for their contributions to the spiritual life of our community.

If the library has touched your life, please join us in the Library on May 28th from 11:45 am to 12:30 pm to bless this space and honor the role it has played in our commUnity.

There are lots of ways to get involved with This is US. Here’s one…

We are putting out a call for photographs……any photos you have of events, people, ceremonies that occurred at Seattle Unity. In particular if you and your family have a long history we would especially like to see historical photos.

Also, for all you professional and amateur photographers out there… this is a call for you to capture moments during the coming year. As an example I am taking photos of the altar flowers every Sunday. Is there a special object in the building, a special place that is important to you within the building, a special person you want to highlight? Take some photos to capture anything meaningful to you for the This is US project.

You can send the photos to thisisunityseattle@gmail.com.
Please see Didi about photos that are not able to be emailed. Annie can scan them, and you can have the photo back immediately.