Why are you a Unitarian Universalist? (assuming you are!) Maybe you came for religious education for your children. Maybe the social activism drew you in. Maybe you were looking for a community of support after a difficult time in your life.
I stumbled onto Unitarian Universalism forty years ago when the Southern Baptist theology I grew up with no longer worked for me, but I still loved church. I continue to love the idea that people can come together to support one another and make a difference in the world. That’s one story, but only one. Everyone has their own particular story. Together, we are writing a new story that includes us all.
“We are co-creating the faith we long for,” says Rev Meg Riley, Senior Minister of the Church of the Larger Fellowship, a UU church without walls, primarily on the web (https://www.questformeaning.org/clfuu/). Most religions say, “Here is our tradition, and here’s how you can fit it.” We say something different. We invite each person to start from where they are. It’s not that we don’t have a tradition–we do. Our rich history extends back hundreds of years. But we are not tied to that tradition in a rigid way. We look more towards the future than towards the past. Yes, we are co-creating something.
Specifically, we UU’s here in Manhattan are co-creating the UU Fellowship of Manhattan. Yes, people before us established it, bought a building, hired staff and looked toward a future. We are forever grateful to them, and to everyone who has shaped UUFM through the last sixty-one years. There’s no way they could know who would be here now, or what their needs might be. Much less who will be here in another sixty years and what their needs might be. The only way we can make sure that needs keep being met is to continue the co-creation. UUFM doesn’t look like what it did fifty years ago, and will not look the same as it does now in another fifty years. If it did, then we would be failing at the continuing co-creation.
During August, when newcomers tend to arrive in Manhattan, we’ll be talking about our UUism and what it means. We’ll have testimonials from some of our members, along with sharing our core values through our history, religious education, and activism. If you know someone who you think ought to be a Unitarian Universalist, this is a perfect time for them to visit with us on a Sunday morning. Pick up a postcard from the Visitors’ Table in the narthex to share with them.
In the meantime, think about why you are a Unitarian Universalist. I hope that it brings something rich to your life.
In faith and freedom, Jonalu