I remember my first visit to a Unitarian Universalist church. Just taking the step to walk into a “church” felt gutsy to me. I had grown up Jewish, married a Catholic, and felt like an agnostic. I wanted my children to have the opportunity to experience the richness that participation in a faith community can offer – but not the indoctrination that I was afraid would come with it. I wanted to find a community that would support my values,
and encourage my spiritual growth, but having been to a few churches with friends, I knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable in a Christian church. And I wanted so badly to feel comfortable!
Luckily, I had done some homework, and as you know from my position at Follen, the UU faith was the right one for me. Looking back, I believe that growing up as Unitarian Universalists helped my children become the incredible human beings that they are today: appreciative of diversity, compassionate in their interactions, passionate about human rights, thoughtful about their choices; and mindful about how they walk in this world. And we all learned something else as we grew to understand Unitarian Universalism: being “comfortable” is not necessarily the goal of faith development! Our faith calls on us to grapple with our values, beliefs, and community: to check in with our assumptions; to grow in our understanding; to listen to others and find ways to be in relationship when our ways of being in the world are not the same; and (as Rev. Thandeka preaches) to “love” beyond belief even when loving feels nearly impossible.
Unitarian Universalism can have a deep impact on our children and youth. As your family ponders your various schedules this year, please consider keeping Sunday mornings sacred: commit to bring yourselves and your children to church on most Sundays. Faith development does not happen in a vacuum. Our children need the camaraderie and support of this community as they develop their faith. I invite your family to come in fully to the beloved community. We have important work to do: ideas to explore, celebrations to engage in, and love to share!
In faith, with love,
Beryl Aschenberg, Director of Religious Education