I grew up in a small borough in New Jersey that was commuting distance to NYC. My family attended a Presbyterian church on 5th Ave in Manhattan for much of my life. Weekends were filled with helping set up homeless shelters at the various churches. Though I’ve been agnostic since young childhood, I’ve always enjoyed the social and community support the church encouraged and provided.
It took me a while to find a religious home for myself and children after moving to Raleigh sixteen years ago as not all religious communities hold open arms to agnostics/atheists. Eventually I came across Unitarian Universalism while teaching a 6th grade social studies unit on world religions. The more I read up on UU, the more it sounded like it matched my personal beliefs. Shortly after that, Trump was elected. The following Sunday I came to visit UUFR. After hearing Sasha’s sermon on the Book of Esther, I knew I had found my religious home.
Because of my past experiences with church life, I believed the way to get the most fulfillment out of a religious home was by dedicating my time and energy back into it. We added Wednesday Night dinner to our weekly calendar, my oldest volunteered to be a teen assistant and signed up for trips to the Mountain, I joined the young adult group and started attending a covenant group (now chalice circle), and my husband and I joined board committees. I’ve loved watching how the fellowship has provided my children with opportunities to be active members in congregational life and invited them into a community of people they now see as extended family.