Sierra Goodale's Story

June 8, 2018 @ 02:45 pm by Christina Fleming

My name is Sierra and this is my Middle Church story.

The first time I came into this sanctuary was in January, 2002. From 9/11 to that Sunday, I’d been a volunteer Red Cross chaplain working near the pit at Ground Zero with survivors and residents of the World Trade Center bombings. It was an honor, but it was hard. Everyone was in a state of shock. We were all exhausted and facing our own demons. Every few days I prayerfully swept up the grey dust on the roof outside my window, dust that was actually the pulverized remains of 3,000 spirits and the towers. And I took a couple of buckets of them to the Hudson River and set them free with a prayer. They were holy, the whole city was holy ground.

And this part of the city was under siege. No transportation, food or newspaper deliveries, and, in some cases, no phones or electricity. We had to show ID to come back below 14th street if we ventured Uptown in search of supplies and friends. and the smoke and smell of the smoldering towers permeated everything.

I had been an actively spiritual person for 40 years and an interfaith minister for 20 years. But, my circle of friends lived uptown, I was on my own physically. I had spiritual resources and tools, but I needed community.

One day, I came through the doors of Middle Church and took a deep breath. The space was filled with light and beauty and open welcoming faces. I was immediately home. I had entered a true sanctuary.

Within weeks I was traveling to DC with Peace Talks. Middle people with agency and determination to keep us out of Bush’s war. Non-violent communication training and writing groups all were helping us all
start the long healing process. That fall I joined the Gospel Choir and found joy again. I decided to become a member, after all Middle was giving me a lot, was rescuing me.

At first a put a little money in the collection bags. Overtime I increased it a little bit and started writing checks instead of the loose change and bills. I began to feel better and some ownership. I started writing small
checks. A few years ago I started writing $2 for Butterfly on the check memo line.

I’m on a very limited fixed income. I juggle my expenses every day. What is more important today, which expense is a must. This month honoring the monetary needs of Middle is at the top of my juggle list. This place where I have experienced and witnessed so much healing and growth needs our financial support. What more can I do? I think of Luke and the story of the woman who lost one of her 10 coins and who searched diligently until she found it. She rejoiced when she could meet her budget.

In order to support our ministries, we were asked to contribute $625,000 toward our $2M budget. We still need to raise $50,000 by the end of the month. Because we are diverse, there are a few deep pockets in our congregation; but most of us have very tight budgets.

Middle needs each of us to help her to find that lost coin. I am asking those of us with very tight budgets to search our resources and stretch our giving through some sacrifice in the coming weeks. In small increments, we can make a difference. You and I can make a difference, and increase our partnership in this place.

You are all beautiful, loved and every time you act in Middle's name, it is a prayer. I am praying blessings for you as you help us meet the bold challenges before us, as you help us power revolutionary love. Thank you!

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You make such a difference in so many lives! Here are their stories.

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