My name is Eric L. My wife, Barbara and our family have been members here for 18 years.
Remember the hand game from when you were little?
“Here is the church, here is the steeple, open up the doors and see all the people” (try it….)
I like that this is an active, involved community, I like that you see the people. In fact it is one of the things that initially drew us to this community. We had visited another UU Church, when we were expecting our first child. That first church we visited, we did not find a lot of energy, very few kids and young families; not exactly what we were looking for at that time. I mentioned it to a co-worker who I knew went to the Wayland UU Church and she told me… “You know the old adage, if you don’t like one UU Church, try another!” Soon after we did try another, and came here to MUUC in the fall of 2001. Immediately we saw the energy and community that was present here. What a difference….
There are many ways that people contribute in our community. Whether it is to work the Harvest Fair, participate in a clean-up day, serve on a committee, or attend the Men’s or Women’s Retreat – People show up. For our annual pledge drive, there is a lot of hard work that goes in to plan, dream, budget and compromise. No matter how challenging the conversations, you can depend on this community to step up when needed to make sure we meet our financial commitments. And on Sunday mornings members in our community sing in the choir, light the chalice, serve as greeter or usher, share a part of themselves at Candles, or share a simple handshake or smile when we greet those around us. And most importantly, no matter what our beliefs or life experiences, we share in worship together.
Over the years there are so many times, so many memories of seeing the people. There are two stories that I want to share this morning of contribution; a different type of contribution. These are illustrative, and for these two stories there are dozens, if not hundreds more. And each of you has your own. On the surface, they may seem simple, but they are meaningful and have made a difference.
One of the first activities we participated in when we first started attending was a Circle Supper. If you never have participated in a Circle Supper, you should give it a try. Jean and Phil P. hosted a supper at their home, Jill and Jay L. were there, as were Amy W. and Van C. We had a nice dinner and very pleasant conversation. We talked about the church and the P’s told us a lot about the history and what they had been involved in over the years. After dinner, and dessert, Phil played the piano while Jean sang. For those of you who knew Jean and Phil, I think you can easily conjure up an image. I didn’t know it at the time, but what a memory! We were new, but we felt very welcomed…. And it made a difference to us feeling included in this community.
The world we live in today unfortunately gives lots of opportunity for my kids to question or state their opinion on subjects like politics, social issues or the environment. I’m proud when they say something like, “But, that’s not right that the government is affecting regulations, it has an impact on climate change.” Now I know as their parents I have some impact on their thinking, but I am also keenly aware that so has this congregation. The teachers they have had in RE, those that have taught them in OWL, or mentored them in youth group. I’m grateful to those that have helped nurture and challenge my kids and helped them become the inquisitive, critical thinking young people they are. In the words of Hillary Clinton… It takes a village.
There is more that has helped connect my kids to this community, which leads me to my second story. For the last number of years my son Adam has developed a very important bond, a mentor, a friend. Adam is 13, going to be 14 soon, and attending church on Sunday mornings is not at the top of his list. But, one thing that helps get him here, one of the things he looks forward to is connecting with Michael O. They seek each other out either before the service and/or during coffee hour. Now they likely are talking about sports, but it isn’t the subject matter that matters…. It’s the connection.
These connections have made a difference in my family’s lives. We may make connections while on retreat with one another, or singing together in the choir, or talking with someone at coffee hour. Those connections deepen our community and our relationships with one another. So, open the doors and see the people.