Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog

Testimonial by Tiffany for Capital Campaign >”Building the Beloved Community”<

by Tiffany , Sunday, October 21, 2012
I first started coming to UUSS in the late 80s for the “intellectual stimulation” of the excellent Forum lectures that were held right here every Sunday morning at 9:30.

Sometimes I would look around and up at the banners and it would occur to me, “I think there’s a church here. I should check it out some time.”
The first few times I actually attended services, I found it all a bit odd, offbeat, refreshing, and intriguing. It felt comfortable. I didn’t feel like I had to pretend to go along with anything that was said or sung. Then I found out that since it was summertime, the services were lay-led and were more casual than the regular services that would begin in September. Ah, that explained it.
You can imagine how mystified I was when I came to some regular services later on, and still no crucifixes on the walls, no Bible verses, and sermon after sermon with themes that were so inclusive, so full of universal truths, so understandable, that I began to suspect that people with all kinds of different beliefs and backgrounds could feel at home here.
My own religious background had been very sketchy and eclectic, a patchwork quilt of Church of Christ, Christian Science, Unity, Luthern, Catholic, with a splash of LDS from a period in high school when I sang with the local Mormon Youth Choir (and went on some really fun trips), and Islam, from the years I lived in Algeria and was married to a liberal Muslim in a very traditional family.
At UUSS, at the beginning, it was hard to get straight answers to some of my questions, like, what do UUs believe? Is this a church or not? If anyone can walk in and attend services, what is membership about? There was a phrase I heard fairly often: “we are a community of seekers” and that touched me. I got it. UUSS is like a spiritual half-way house, a place where you can reflect and deepen your learning and draw from all the wisdom traditions to find your own path. So when I met people who had been members for 20-30 years, I thought, “Gee, it’s sure taking them a long time”–because I thought that once you figure things out, you leave and settle down someplace with your “real” faith.
It’s been 23 years now. I joined. My husband Clair and I were married here. UUSS became central to our lives. We’ve been involved in more committees and activities than you could shake a stick. I remember the workshops on Women in Film that changed the way I look at movies. I learned about the power of myth and how to decode the meaning of dreams. What good times we’ve had – at the Millenium Celebration, at an “Offda” Scandinavian Night, sharing some of our Paris adventures at a Cabaret singalong. We’ve danced here. I was in several Theater One plays here. We’ve grieved here and shared the deep, powerful experience of gathering together as a community to remember and say goodbye to dear friends.

Here are some things I’ve learned: you never stop learning; you never stop seeking; people with all kinds of different beliefs and backgrounds do feel at home here; it’s not our beliefs that define us, but our values and actions; Unitarian Universalism is my “real” faith.
I’ve learned that membership matters. The thoughtful commitment we make when we become members, of our time, talents and support, creates a real bond that connects us to one another. I’ve also learned that the more I’ve participated and the more I’ve contributed, the stronger the bond and sense of belonging I feel in return.
It gladdens my heart to see the plans we are making now to ensure that UUSS will grow and thrive for the future generations who will find their spiritual home and haven at UUSS.

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