There are two gifts
we should give our children;
one is roots, the other is wings.
Wings to show you what you can become,
Roots to remind you where you're from.
-Roots & Wings, Anonymous
Our inspiration for this series of articles is the young "graduates" of our fellowship and the stories they share regarding how their UUFP experience has affected their adult lives.
Back here on The Peninsula, she’s remembered as someone who liked to help other young people. “I think about her kindness and ability to help people feel valued and important,” says RE Director Joanne Dingus. Oh, and they also remember her bright red hair.
Chloe was twelve years old when she and her parents, Jan and Donna Briedé, moved to Virginia from Ohio and joined the Fellowship. What she soon discovered, she says, was that talking and learning about religion was something she very much enjoyed doing, and that, “UUFP was always a safe community to learn and to explore.”
Today, after a stint of working with the Red Cross in West Virginia, Chloe has turned her joy of learning and exploring the subject of religion into a vocation, as she studies for her Doctorate of Divinity at the Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Recognized as the oldest non-sectarian divinity school in the country and just an MTA ride away from UUA headquarters on Beacon Hill, the School seems like the ideal place to prepare for a career as a Unitarian Universalist minister. Chloe is looking forward to, some day, serving a community much like the UUFP and to raising a family.
On the other hand, Chloe says she misses “living in a more rural area. I mostly enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and camping. I got into Swing and Blues dancing a couple of years ago.” She does, though, have the companionship of her UUFP friend and now schoolmate, Jaimie Dingus. Together they’ve found a spiritual home in Boston at historic Arlington Street UU Church, once the pulpit of William Ellery Channing, one of the shapers of the American Unitarian movement.
When we asked Annie Campbell, daughter of Sandy and Barry Campbell, our series of standard questions, what we got back was a letter that presented her feelings on the subject so completely and poignantly that we decided to let Annie’s letter speak for itself:
I am a ceramic sculptor and ceramics professor at Auburn University in Alabama. Being brought up Unitarian Universalist has influenced my path in many subtle and major ways.
As a child and teen at UUFP I always felt safe, supported and celebrated. In a general sense, growing up in an environment that encourages one to find their own individual way really helped me along the path of becoming an artist. The long journey to becoming a professional artist is fraught with rejection and financial instability and lacks a defined set of steps that lead to success. Unitarian Universalism (along with the unending support of my parents) taught me to believe in myself and forge my own way through uncertainty.
Another aspect that has had a huge impact on my life is spending many summers at The Mountain, a Unitarian Universalist camp in the mountains of North Carolina. At camp we learned to celebrate what makes us truly unique. We learned how to find our true selves, and embrace the differences in the people around us. We learned how to be vulnerable and strong, open and accepting. As a staff member I learned valuable leadership skills that serve me to this day. It was also at The Mountain that I discovered my love and aptitude for teaching art. During three summers as the arts and crafts coordinator I decided that this would be my career path. The UUFP and The Mountain have shaped me in many significant ways, and I look forward to my children having the same enriching experiences within a UU congregation and Mountain Camp.
If you know of a former UUFP young adult whom you would like to see featured in the eFlame,
please email the suggestion to firstname.lastname@example.org