When I was growing up, my parents switched religious denominations as often as some families bought new cars. By the time I was 17, my religious experience included: being dedicated to the Lord as a 2-year-old at a Pentecostal Holiness church, speaking in tongues as an 8-year-old at a Western Sizzlin’ steakhouse during an evangelical women’s prayer breakfast, trembling in fear of eternal damnation during assembly at my fundamentalist elementary school and attending years of United Methodist services at our family church while in high school.
As a freshman at UNC-Chapel Hill, I took New Testament 101 from renowned atheist scholar Bart Ehrman and was delighted to be disabused of all my prior religious education. I switched my major to religious studies, declared myself agnostic and figured I’d spend Sunday mornings sleeping in for the rest of my life.
I also discovered newspapers at UNC when I worked for The Daily Tar Heel. Journalism served as a sustaining faith for a couple of decades while I was a reporter and editor. But as the years progressed, I found that an intellectual rebuke of religion didn’t completely satisfy my soul. I was confirmed in the Episcopal church as a 23-year-old, and my husband, Josh Shaffer, and I were married by a woman Episcopal priest.
When we first came to UUFR in 2012 our son, Sam, was in kindergarten. We were looking for a community to become part of and a framework to help Sam understand his own spirituality when he began to explore it. We found both of those as well as a liberal, religious congregation with a strong inclination to social activism.
Since joining UUFR, I have served on the Religious Education Ministry Council, the Committee on Ministry and have been on the Board for two years. Before the pandemic, we participated in the Interfaith Food Shuttle Mobile Market and Backpack Buddies. My involvement at UUFR has served as a steadying force and a source of personal reflection and growth.
Professionally, I work in marketing and communications for a non-profit association for trial lawyers, the North Carolina Advocates for Justice. We live in downtown Raleigh with one cat and one dog.