I’m thirty-seven years old, a local attorney and VUU member for the last three years. I’ve also been a member and chair of the VUU Policy committee for a little more than a year. Finally, I’ve given two sermons to the congregation during my time at VUU: one on how studying Russian changed my perspective about communicating with people of other backgrounds, and another on how ideology shapes our perceptions of the world.
Picking the right senior minister is important to me because I believe that the minister represents the primary public face most people interact with when they first encounter VUU. This is based on my personal experience. I came to VUU shortly after the shock of the 2016 election. I realized that the results implied I simply didn’t know that much about my neighbors or community. Worse, people I was close to advised me that the incoming Trump administration wouldn’t be bad for me personally because I was fortunate enough to be an established white professional. If I just kept my head down, everything would be fine. I regarded this advice as profoundly immoral.
My first week at VUU came at a time when I was feeling intense social dislocation. I didn’t understand my own country or society and our president had, just days prior, ordered a ban on all Muslim immigration to the United States. To my delight, VUU’s pastor had organized a dinner at the local mosque to meet and better understand our neighbors and a community under siege. This was, to my mind, precisely the opposite of the advice to simply ignore what was going on and keep my head down. My first experience at VUU was a pastor calling for more universal engagement with the world; not less. To me, that defined what VUU was about. It brought me in to an experience I didn’t know I was looking for. And I’d like to help facilitate the joy of finding a faith home for future VUU members the same way I did. I’m here for the most UU reason possible: I want to pay my good fortune forward.