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First Things, February 2014

January 27, 2014

This month First Church realizes a long-standing dream of our congregation.

This month the Caroline Severance Manor opens to new residents.

More than a decade ago this congregation transformed a humble dream of church parking adjacent to the church, into a noble dream of church parking adjacent to the church and affordable housing for the neighborhood.

We worked hard to make it happen.  We raised money.  We created partnerships.  We endured a worldwide economic downturn and the elimination of the California Redevelopment Agency.  We waited through delays.  We attended city planning meetings.  We endured construction noise and dust and walked in the street for 18 months while the sidewalk was closed in front of the construction site.

And through it all we remained inspired by our dream.  A beautiful dream of a building rising beside and behind the church.  New construction, elegant landscaping, attractive design that will make the Caroline Severance Manor the nicest apartments in the neighborhood.

Plus new neighbors.  85 families and single people, some with special needs receiving on-site services, and all of them benefiting from rent payments well below market rates.

I can’t wait to drive my car into our new, secure, underground parking. I can’t wait to ride our elevator from the parking level to the street and walk through the building.  I can’t wait to meet our new neighbors.  And I can’t wait to pause at the plaque in the lobby commemorating our church founder, Caroline Severance, to touch the relief of her face and the letters that tell her story, and thank her for her dream of a church, 137 years, that made this possible.

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