I first came to UUFR in the summer of 1998. I’d just moved to Raleigh, didn’t know anyone here, except Don, my (now) husband. I was raised in a UU church in NY and, after a hiatus, felt ready to re-engage with a spiritual community.
This place is my spiritual home. That means you are my spiritual family. You are my spiritual grandparents who share with me your wisdom and encouragement. You are literally and figuratively my spiritual parents, aunts, and uncles, who revel with me in my joys and hug me through my sorrows. You are my spiritual brothers, sisters, and cousins, who grow right alongside me. Your children are my spiritual nieces and nephews, who give me hope for our tomorrow. I aspire to be a worthy role model for them.
I live in this home because it’s here that I’ve grown up spiritually. It’s here, with you, that I discovered my power to use the language that is meaningful to me to describe my faith. That no single religion owns the word, definition, or concept of ‘God’. I’ve determined here that the word and concept of ‘God’ is like the word and concept of ‘spicy’. You and I have our own definition of ‘spicy’. There’s no concept of my ‘spicy’ being right and yours being wrong, they’re just different. And unique to us.
It’s here that am inspired and even encouraged to create my own meaning of ‘God’ that expresses MY personal relationship to the world. It is here that I learned about Rev. Norbert Capek, the Unitarian minister who said, “As the sunflower responds to the sun, so the soul responds to god”. He is the reason I love sunflowers.
I am grateful for this spiritual home because it was here that I first heard the Marianne Williamson reading, Our Deepest Fear. That reading is my personal mantra, because it reminds me to not fear my fabulousness! I especially love the part that says “…as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I am inspired in this spiritual home, because it was here that I learned from Reverend Julie Denny Hughes, the principle that has become my personal guide for generosity, not just here at UUFR, everywhere I give. She said, quote “Give what you can and then give a little bit more. That little bit more you give will change the world” end quote. And that’s what I do—give a little bit more. Because I want to change the world.
You inspire me to act; to do more than ‘say’ I’m an LGBT ally or that I want to do something to end food poverty. I’m encouraged here to DO what an LGBT ally does by being a welcoming person here and publicly supporting PFLAG and to DO something that does feed the hungry in our community by bringing food for Urban Ministry.
UUFR is my home and you are my family.