When my 14 year old son, Toby, asked me to “take him to church” on Thanksgiving Day 1985 and we decided to try the Unitarian Universalist church on Warner Road, I didn’t realize that a whole new world of friends, learning and opportunities would follow. Valley UU Church dazzled me and I joined that first Sunday, because I knew I was HOME.
My life at VUU can roughly be divided into 3 parts: For the first decade I worked in Religious Education, taught most levels and was a co-adviser of our youth group, YRUU, as well as a member of the Religious Education Committee. During most of the second decade, I was active in the governance of the congregation, being a member of the Board, Vice President and then President (in the old days when they were elected by the congregation). For the third decade and counting, I have mostly been involved in Worship, Adult Education and Choir.
Although I had given sermons and services several times before we organized the Worship Associate Program, as I cycled off the Board, my focus increasingly became worship and how, as a lay leader, I could be part of making worship services have a significant lay presence and increase my own theological understanding of Unitarian Universalism. I have been a leader and participant in many Covenant Groups, which have evolved into Chalice Circles, and I have taught some adult Faith Formation classes, too. And when I cycled off Worship Associates for a few years, with Rebecca Riggs and Anne Schneider, I started our ongoing Adult Faith Formation discussion group, Spirit of Life Reading Circle, which has just begun its seventh year and which has deepened both my spiritual life and friendships in the congregation.
During all of this, I have done a lot of food organizing, singing in the choir, and I’ve also served on several time-limited committees. I was Co-chair of the New Building Search Committee, which got us our current home, and I was a member of the last Search Committee for a Settled Minister. Recently, I was a member of the Search Committee for an Interim Minister.
My main concern will be looking for a new minister who exemplifies our Principles, is an excellent preacher, an active advocate for social justice and a firm proponent of the concept of Shared Ministry. The engagement of lay leaders in everything we do is essential to my vision of Unitarian Universalism.
I am incredibly grateful for Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation for the ways in which it has developed my spiritual life and given me life-long friendships the likes of which I could only have imagined that first day I walked into the church on Warner Road. Truly, my gratitude for VUU abounds!