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This past Sunday, after passing all of the necessary inspections, we cut the ribbon and officially announced that our elevator was ready for use.

For long-term members, this day took so long to get here. When Live Oak first took ownership of this building, they began talking about how important it was to get an elevator put in. We simply weren’t living out our values of accessibility, inclusivity, and hospitality.

We decided to have a capital campaign … well, no, that’s not really accurate. To be honest, we had to have a capital campaign, because all of our old air conditioning units were on the brink of being unusable. As soon as we became serious about that campaign, “elevator” was at the top of our wish list.

People went into their savings, their retirement accounts, they postponed vacations and made other changes to their budgets. You gave generously, with a vision of becoming the church and community center that is accessible to all.

A profound gift came our way in the form of architect Gary Shaw, father of member Kristen Shaw Anderson. There are no words adequate to express our deep gratitude to Gary. He donated all of his expertise, patiently guiding us through this process, and spending countless hours working with contractors and other professionals through this multi-year project. Thank you, Gary!

I am filled with awe and humility whenever I think of all the things people have invested in Live Oak over the years. Their time, their creativity and energy, their money, their love. These things are votes of trust in us, to continue this important work of being a beacon of liberal religion, feeding our neighbors, and working to build The Beloved Community. To whom much is given, much is expected. May we continue to change the world with our love.