We noticed today that Old First's Mission Statement has gone missing from its usual home in a display case facing 7th Avenue. Here is what it used to look like:
Old First is like an old friend, towering over the intersection of 7th Avenue and Carroll Street. If Park Slope were a medieval European town, Old First would be the Gothic cathedral facing the main public square.
We've always been impressed that Old First has historic preservation built into its Mission Statement:
Old First Reformed Church is a community of Jesus Christ in Brooklyn.
We welcome persons of every ethnicity, race, and orientation to worship, serve, and love God, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
We embrace the following missions:
-To offer God's word, prayer, the sacraments, and discipleship.
- To offer outreach, education, fellowship and music.
- To offer sanctuary to anyone seeking spirituality and hope.
- To offer hospitality to community groups and the arts.
- To care for the gifts we have been given through our Reformed Church, including our historic sanctuary and building.
Could preservation be a form of spiritual practice? Old First's Mission Statement seems to hint at the possibility. Perhaps there is a sense in which Park Slope, our home, is a boon, a Gift, a "Garden" for which we, its residents, in a distant echo of Adam, bear a gardener's responsibility.
We hope to see Old First's Mission Statement soon restored to its rightful place facing 7th Avenue.