Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Community Created by Craigslist

We have continued the process of cleaning out the church building as it appears that the renovation of the historic building is going to finally commence after a long delay. It seems as though the process of cleaning out the church is never-ending. When you open a closet door, you never know what you are going to find. Furthermore, there are several rooms at the church where the door has remained closed for decades -- literally.

We found an entire woodworking studio at the church. It's true that some of the directories at the church point to "The Carpenter's Studio" but I had never seen the room myself until recently. We found three big pieces of equipment that made everything from bookshelves to offering plates. We don't have many carpenters in the church today, however. It's time to let these things go.

The church also had what seemed to be a piano in every room. We sold several pianos this summer when we started cleaning out the buildings to be demolished. One piano remained, however. It is the piano we have been using for worship in the Undercroft Theatre. But now that we have vacated the space we have a piano that we no longer need. It's time to let it go.

The Carpenter's Shop was full of other items, too, as it has become a storage closet in more recent decades. It seems as though when some things were removed from the church, people would stick the items in the room with the carpenter's equipment and shut the door. We found two porcelain sinks a few weeks ago. I am not sure exactly where they were installed in the church when they were once used. I only know that we do not need them now. It's time to let them go.

Add to this mix a half a dozen filing cabinets and countless chairs that have been discovered in recent days, and we have too much stuff. We have many things that need to go in order for the renovation and repair work to begin. As a result, we have been selling or giving away things on Craigslist.

I never knew about Craigslist until I moved to Washington in 2005. I now know that one can find anything and everything on Craigslist from a job to a rocking chair, a night of romance to a place to park your car. Craigslist offers pretty much whatever it is that you want or think you need. It costs nothing to post on the site or respond to someone else's posting. Furthermore, the things being sold on the site are often sold at a bargain price. Most people who post things on Craigslist want to simply get rid of something, knowing that someone else is in need of what they no longer want.

I have used Craigslist often in order to advertise the church's yard sales or to get ride of things the church no longer needs. Craigslist has helped the church raise thousands of dollars for missions while also allowing us to meet many of our neighbors who have come in to get something. Craigslist has also taught me a few things:

1) Your trash may be someone else's treasure.
2) There are a lot of lonely people in Washington who will do anything to find companionship or intimacy -- even if just for a night.
3) There is joy that comes when you give things away, knowing that the person taking them from you needs exactly what you have to offer.
4) There is no need to charge someone more money than what an item is worth. People get excited when they know they are getting a bargain, and it is fun to watch the excitement.
5) People will buy things for a variety of purposes -- tables for a party in someone's apartment on Saturday night, chairs for a wedding, antique sinks for a historic home, filing cabinets for a non-profit organization, kitchen equipment for a restaurant that is yet to be open.

I wish more people and businesses in our community operated under the principles of Craigslist -- don't charge more than is necessary, give things away whenever you can, never throw something away without first trying to recycle the item, do whatever you can to meet your neighbors, offer hospitality to strangers, lend a hand when you can by helping someone load a car or truck, use your gifts to meet the needs of another person, and let go of things you no longer need. Can you imagine this community? I can.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks, I appreciate the kind words!