When I think about Fitchburg Serenity Club (FSC) routines at the start of 2020 and consider our current reality, the two stand in stark contrast. And yet, when I “look for the similarities and not the differences”, life is reassuringly similar, thanks to fellowships that gather in the name of
Thank you to all who attend meetings at FSC. And thank you to the countless members who’ve launched, sustained and supported new forms of gathering around the tables outdoors or virtually. It is always a privilege to witness 12-step recovery in action.
When circumstances change, even drastically and in unprecedented ways, we still wake. We still gather in the rooms, around a firepit or picnic table, or on a Zoom call. We pick up the same disciplines, steps and traditions that served us in the past and now keep us grounded along the path of recovery. New members, sober for the first time in 2020, pick up new tools to survive and thrive, to live happy, joyous and free. This year is the only recovery rhythm they have ever known, and they are getting what they need. We are a community and not a building, after all.
And yet, we are blessed with a physical clubhouse that refuses to be ignored, with its own set of similarities that persist month after month, year after year, even now when so much is different. Among those similarities are monthly operating expenses, building repair and maintenance and capital expenses.
The FSC Board voted early in the year to suspend discretionary expenditures in an effort to uphold our primary mission as a nonprofit that provides space to 12-Step recovery programs. 2020 has brought new expenses, like a steady stream of masks, disinfectant and enhanced cleaning protocols. Thanks to member donations, we added “hybrid” meeting capabilities to the ballroom, so folks who want to can have a “hybrid meeting”, joining those meeting in-person with those joining via Zoom.
This year, we tackled several large-scale projects that were already underway or could not wait, including a new security system (~$16,000), HVAC repairs and upgrades (~$50,000), and a new, safer walkway and railing ($16,500, covered in part by a member donation).
Our only revenue is derived from basket collections during meetings, monthly membership dues and individual donations. Historically, basket donations have provided more than 80% of the revenue and pay for operating expenses and building maintenance. Revenues have been significantly down this year versus recent years, including 2020 lows in the month of November. Because many of our members are experiencing financial challenges, we made the decision in 2020 to temporarily suspend our practice of canceling memberships for those who have not paid dues for more than two months. Currently, only two-thirds of our nearly 250 monthly memberships are current on pledged dues.
Each year, this year-end letter provides an opportunity to update you on FSC happenings and for you to consider how you can support Fitchburg Serenity Club’s mission. If you’d like to make a financial contribution to Fitchburg Serenity Club, you may do so online. If you have questions or comments, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. May the spirit of the season bring you joy and peace. Until we meet around the tables once again, regardless of how, where or when we gather, may we always come together in fellowship.
Thank you for your support of the FSC Clubhouse!