A Spiritual Awakening

Written by T. Resnikoff // June 27th 2015 // #LivingUU, Future of Faith // no comments

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WESLEY by Kristen Psaki kristen.psaki@gmail.com @kristenpsaki Wesley Botham Unitarian Church Lincoln, NE “Sometime in late high school and early college I was definitely sure I was no longer a Christian.” Wesley Botham grew up in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA Lutheran), which worked for him until it didn’t anymore. “I remember thinking: It would be nice if there were some place, this is a completely absurd thought, but it would be nice if there were some place where you could go and not be a Christian.” Wesley ended up dating someone who invited him to a UU church, but it didn’t stick just yet. A chapter or two down the road Wesley lived…

This is What I Was Freakin’ Looking For!

Written by T. Resnikoff // June 27th 2015 // #LivingUU, Future of Faith // no comments

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 EM by Kristen Psaki kristen.psaki@gmail.com @kristenpsaki Em du Mond Church of the Larger Fellowship “A more accurate question than why am I UU is why am I still UU?” Em du Mond grew up UU. She was dedicated into the church, did RE and OWL, the whole gamut. “Then when I got into high school there was nothing, like at all.” Since there was no RE program for high school aged youth Em became a childcare worker for the church in order to at least stay connected. “I was working for them not really getting spiritual nourishment but still going to my community church where everyone knew me.” Luckily Em learned about Youth Cons her…

Radical Inclusion

Written by T. Resnikoff // June 27th 2015 // #LivingUU, Future of Faith // no comments

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LOYCE by Beth Cortez-Neavel ecortez.neavel@gmail.com @ecortez_neavel I was pretty grumpy Thursday by 4 p.m. and rushing out of the #LivingUU “office” to find an empty, quiet couch for a nap. “That outfit is fresh!” the words hit my ears but didn’t quite compute. I stopped. “What,” I asked. “Fresh. I said that outfit is fresh,” she said. Loyce Newton Edwards looked at me. She liked the parachute pants I was wearing. Her compliment completely made my day and broke me out of my afternoon fog like a cup of hot strong coffee. She was wearing a purple feather arrangement in her hair. She looked warm and had a kind, yet imposing demeanor. Loyce said her…

Finding Her Sanctuary

Written by T. Resnikoff // June 27th 2015 // #LivingUU, Future of Faith // no comments

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AMANDA by Kristen Psaki kristen.psaki@gmail.com @kristenpsaki Amanda Bancroft Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fayetteville, Arkansas Amanda Bancroft is a writer, an artist, and a lover of trees. In fact, the thick trees of the Ozarks lead Amanda to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fayetteville, Arkansas in 2007. The unexpected encounter with the UU fellowship of Fayetteville blossomed into a deep commitment to the seven Principles and to #LivingUU out loud. “It’s been an affirmation of who I am and also what I do.” “Unitarian Universalism was a place for me of finally coming home. A place where I feel affirmed and supported in community with people I can actually be friends with and where I can…

Everyone Has Worth and Dignity

Written by T. Resnikoff // June 26th 2015 // #LivingUU, Future of Faith // no comments

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THERESA by Kristen Psaki kristen.psaki@gmail.com @kristenpsaki Theresa Soto Intern Minister in Salem, OR Theresa Soto knows the exact year when she became a UU. “In 2005” she easily recalls. Although not her first visit to a UU community, in 2005 she was hooked by a social justice fair that blanketed the fellowship hall. “I dealt with the access issues because I’m a person in a scooter,” she shares. “But I was really interested in the range of social justice issues.” It wasn’t just the social justice fair that caught her attention, both the music and sermon during the service lifted her spirit. “I felt like there was artistic expression in the worship.” Theresa’s parents are…

Spirituality… In an Open-Minded Way

Written by T. Resnikoff // June 26th 2015 // #LivingUU, Future of Faith // no comments

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 DICK by Kristen Psaki kristen.psaki@gmail.com @kristenpsaki Dick Burkhart Church of the Larger Fellowship “When you’re drawn toward something you don’t always quite know what it is,” says longtime UU Dick Burkhart. Looking back, there’s been a pattern in the spaces and relationships that make him feel most alive. For Dick, #LivingUU means life-long interfaith and multi-cultural learning. He remembers feeling the tug when studying world religions in Middle School and learning about whole new ways of living, gathering and believing. “We don’t have to be embedded in one little aspect of it. I built on that through my life.” In Seattle, Washington Dick was part of a UU fellowship that dissolved recently and he partly…

Humor is Crucial

Written by T. Resnikoff // June 26th 2015 // #LivingUU, Future of Faith // no comments

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 BEVERLY by Kristen Psaki kristen.psaki@gmail.com @kristenpsaki Beverly McCormick Valley UU in Chandler, Arizona Beverly McCormick knew she was a UU as soon as she walked through the doors of her church and saw the seven principles. She laughs while telling the story. “I thought it was a Unity church!” Surprised but excited by this new and welcoming community, Beverly now calls Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Chandler, Arizona home. On #LivingUU You might find Beverly McCormick collecting signatures for her “Support the Black Lives Matter Movement” Action of Immediate Witness in high traffic convention center corridors. She describes Valley UU’s commitment to action as what sustains her in the community. “There are things that need…

A Gradual Process of Becoming

Written by T. Resnikoff // June 25th 2015 // #LivingUU, Future of Faith // no comments

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DANIEL by Beth Cortez-Neavel ecortez.neavel@gmail.com @ecortez_neavel “I’ve been a Unitarian all my life, before I knew what a Unitarian Universalist was,” says Daniel Rigney (age 65).“I’ve had that view of the world. And so for me it’s been a gradual process of becoming.” It’s Daniel’s first General Assembly and he says he’s really enjoying it. He retired from a position at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas a few years back as a Professor of Sociology and now lives in Houston with his wife. He says for him, being a UU is an oasis or an island refuge in a sea of red. “It’s an oxygen tent because I find the conservativism of southeast…

Figuring Out Her Spiritual Practice

Written by T. Resnikoff // June 25th 2015 // #LivingUU, Future of Faith // no comments

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  INGA by Beth Cortez-Neavel ecortez.neavel@gmail.com @ecortez_neavel Inga Laurent (age 34) lives in Spokane, Washington. She found Unitarian Universalism two years ago. She says she walked into a budget planning meeting in what is now her home congregation and heard the board speaking about money in a transparent and thoughtful way. Something she’s never heard before. She was hooked. She’s been trying out the different workshops and community groups in her church to figure out how she wants to practice her own spirituality. “I think I’ve always been looking for that piece that says ‘Be any religion,’ but I didn’t have a name for it. But eventually I found it. It’s made me very happy…

Not a Unitarian Universalist by Choice

Written by T. Resnikoff // June 25th 2015 // #LivingUU, Collections, Future of Faith // no comments

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 BETH by Beth Cortez-Neavel ecortez.neavel@gmail.com @ecortez_neavel I did not become a UU by choice. But, after being reluctantly dragged into Religious Education classes most of my young Sunday mornings, I have grown up choosing to live it. I recently, within the past six months, returned from half a decade of spiritual hiatus. The part of me that I thought of as “religious” got somehow disconnected between those years. I had a complicated falling out with myself on the heels of a grad school transition, cyclical dives into depression and congregational drama at my home church. But here I am: healing, reconnecting, moving forward. And here I am, choosing to be Unitarian Universalist again.  If our…