Caught in the Act of Generosity: Steve Phillips

Steve and Rodene Phillips grew up on small farms in Colorado’s San Luis Valley. Life took them east, where Steve taught as a professor, and where they raised their two daughters. In retirement, they returned west, settling in Albuquerque, and they became members of First Unitarian. Over the years Steve, with Rodene’s support, has volunteered for the food pantry and social justice work, and served on the board.

Steve has had a lifelong interest in land use policy, which led to him gravitating towards the Buildings and Grounds Committee, which he currently chairs, and the Landscape Committee, which he is a member of. He says the founders of our church had an inspirational vision for the church campus. They made the focus of the campus the courtyard, rather than a large masonry building, and to this day the social life of the campus revolves around this courtyard. He wanted to be a part of this vision, to help keep the campus beautiful and functional.

During the pandemic his work on the campus was a lonely journey, with the usual buzz of campus activities gone. But now he’s optimistic about the direction our church is going, and about its leadership. He says it is a fine needle to thread with the budget, between important programs and the church campus and buildings, but that our trajectory is great. He’s happy to be part of the growth of our church and he sees much potential for yet more growth, and for continuing to make the campus beautiful and functional.

He doesn’t consider his volunteering to be something that should be held up as an example. Most people have lives too busy to devote the number of hours he has given over the past 17 years. But he thinks it is important that as the church grows people are given the opportunity to volunteer as they can. After all, our church needs everyone, and volunteering is a wonderful way to get to know members and staff and is deeply rewarding. He volunteers as a way of giving thanks for his wonderful life, and of supporting the spiritual life and the social and environmental justice work which are dear to his heart. He has reached an age where he’ll leave the gardening work on the campus up to others, but he looks forward to continuing to contribute to the church’s growth and development.

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