Life Around the Church

by Betsy Anderson, Office Manager/Building Supervisor

Betsy AndersonIt’s very peaceful when I arrive at the church every day. I open the Sanctuary, and put out the “Open for Prayer and Meditation” sign, and come into my office where it’s usually sunny. Lots goes on later in the day, but first thing, it’s very quiet.

On Mondays, the chefs for the macrobiotic dinner arrive just before Noon to begin cooking the evening’s meal. Patricia Becker, the manager of the dinner, is offering a vegetarian cooking class here on December 3rd to teach how to prepare some of their best dishes.

iSing Silicon Valley, the girl choir run by Jennah Delp and Shane Troll, is in full swing with their singing classes. Girls ages 7 to 17 attend classes four days a week after school, and it’s a pleasure to hear them. The New Mozart Music School has classes upstairs six days a week—piano, violin, guitar, and cello. And Jan Gunderson often practices her Sunday music during the week, so we are surrounded by music much of the time.

We host regular concerts in the Sanctuary from so many wonderful musical groups: the Palo Alto Philharmonic is having a concert here on November 5th, and New Mozart is having recitals December 10th and 11th. Smaller music groups have piano recitals and Musica Pacifica has had two wonderful concerts here earlier in the year.

Our dance groups (Tuesday Night Tango, Tango Argentina, and the Stanford International Folklore Dancers) meet weekly in the evening. Other dance groups, organizations, and family groups meet in the Fellowship Hall as well, usually on Saturday evenings.

Oh, and I believe there is an election in about a month. We are a polling place, and folks from the neighborhood can vote in the Parlor on November 8th.

About the building itself, we are re-decorated for now. Current pending projects include installing lighted ceiling fans in the Fellowship Hall that will both improve the light source and circulate the air. And we hope to expand the garden design in the Patio with the help of a landscape architect. The trees are full and doing well, after major pruning last year.

The favorite part of my job is the people I deal with every day. In addition to Rick and Gregory, we have wonderful tenants who have been here many years and do good work for the community. Joellen Werne, M.D. is a consummate professional and sunny presence every day, as is Paul George who runs the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center. Kristil Tillman, the bookkeeper for both the church and for Peace and Justice, is a beekeeper in her spare time. I have learned from Kristil that summer bees only live for about six weeks because their wings wear out. Where else would I learn that?

And I meet wonderful children in the course of my day. Earlier this month, a little girl about six years old asked me where the air plants had gone in the Women’s Restroom. A very observant and earnest little girl. I told her that even though they were air plants, they still needed water, and because of the drought, I had replaced them with sea glass. She replied somberly, “well, I still miss them.” This week, I also met two little girls, twins, who are ages 4 and 5/6. One twin is the spokesperson for both, and they are very excited that they are going to be flower girls in a wedding at the church this June. They’ve never been flower girls before, and never been to a wedding. They also wanted to go up into the steeple, but we decided it would be better to just look at it from the ground.

Where else could I work where there are kind people, exuberant children, and music every day?

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We are a progressive Baptist Church affiliated with the American Baptist Churches, USA. We have been in Palo Alto since 1893. We celebrate our Baptist heritage. We affirm the historic Baptist tenets of: Bible Freedom, Soul Freedom, Church Freedom, Religious Freedom

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