Babblings from the Boiler Room: Reflections from our Building Manager

As the weather cools down, the needs of our building and grounds change somewhat. The exterior water gets turned off, the hoses get brought in, the plant growth slows way down. The natural cycle of things continues with an exhale of relief; no more mowing the lawn every week, no more endless weed pulling and watering. Time to plant bulbs in anticipation of what will soon be – the first things to welcome us into new life next spring. Instead of endless weeding and watering, we have leaves to rake on the lawn. I enjoy the respite of the fall. Before I have to worry about salting and shoveling, I get to think about next year. I will be leaving the sticks and old leaves on our perennials, as well as fallen leaves from overhead trees to insulate our plant beds. This provides essential insulation and shelter for bugs and other critters to overwinter in. It may not look the best, but sometimes leaving things alone is the best thing we can do to help them. Nature is good at resting and letting things be. I hope to learn from that where I can this fall.

Here is some of the work that will be taking place around the building and grounds this fall: The slate roof will receive its regular maintenance, replacing about 25 slates that have fallen in the last year, some of our larger trees will receive a much needed prune to keep us and surrounding buildings safe from falling branches, leaves and other debris will get scooped out of window wells to ensure proper drainage over the winter.

There are MANY groups that call our building here at 210 Harvard Street home. Here are some of the groups and what kinds of things they use the building for: White Snake Projects, an activist opera company, has had several “residences” at United Parish over the last couple of years. They make their home for up to 3 weeks in the chapel, where they rehearse for their upcoming show. They will be here November 1st-11th. The Brookline Food Pantry operates here 4 days a week from Willett Hall and the sanctuary. Clients are welcomed into the chapel door where they can sit in the peaceful respite of our sanctuary until their number gets called. On November 4th they will have their annual fundraising gala, where they transform Willett into an opulent events hall. Violin lessons take place in the Lindsay room every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoon. The Brookline Community Development Corporation has their office in the Deepening room, where they advocate for the creation and maintenance of affordable housing in Brookline. DanceWorks Boston is a dance company that empowers choreographers and dancers alike to express their creativity. They meet in Willett Hall 4 nights a week. Boy scouts, cub scouts and girl scouts all have regular meetings here. There is a Tuesday night meditation group in the parlor, Thrifty Threads every Friday and Saturday. The Handel + Haydn Youth Chorus uses almost every single room in the entire building every Saturday morning. ArtBarn rehearses 4 days a week and holds around 4 performances every month. The New England Philharmonic rehearses in Willett Hall every Sunday night, and the list goes on (and on, and on)!

As you walk around the building and out on the grounds, I encourage you to look for something you haven’t noticed before (no, not those pesky dust bunnies!). How parts of the roof meet each other just so, how the last of the season’s blooms look especially vibrant against the backdrop of fallen leaves or gray skies, imagine a group of children surrounding the piano singing gleefully (which happens on an almost daily basis!), the way the light comes into the stained glass windows of the sanctuary. Take a breath and say a prayer of thanksgiving for our beloved place.

In gratitude,

Rebekah Shore, Building Manager