It was lovely and a bit different from other church weddings we had attended. We liked the words that were spoken. I first saw the UUFP in November of 1997. Carole and I had been invited to the wedding of my long time buddy Rich and our new friend Meg. The ceremony was out in the back yard.
Afterwards, we went inside for some cake and fellowship, and a look around the place. We kept asking each other “So this is a church”? It did not look like any church we had ever seen. There were words posted on the walls. The words were thoughtful, meaningful, words about “respect for the interdependent web of existence” and “inherent worth and dignity of all”. What we saw spoke to us. We knew UU-ism deserved a closer look. We explored deeper …and found our spiritual home.
We participated in various ways. I spent very worthwhile time on the membership, Adult Religious Education and Caring committees. I facilitated a fellowship circle. I began singing in the chorus. After a few years away living in Germany, we returned in time for me to serve on the minister search committee which brought Andrew here. On the search committee I learned that the desires and needs of our entire congregation can be distilled and channeled in order to find a minister who understands and will tend to our needs. Powerful stuff.
Andrew came to the ministry following the trauma of 9/11. It is way beyond coincidence that he became our minister and that he is here for us, today, in this situation, where his kindness and empathy are so important. The power of his sermons and his compassion cannot be dimmed by the current need for a “virtual service”. In the same way that the caring and sharing we all give one another cannot be diminished by “social distancing”. The statement made daily as the world struggles to find a way through this is “we’re all in this together”. I found this to be a cornerstone at the UUFP from day one. No matter our religion, spiritual calling, orientation, or politics we are all one here: all accepted, all valued, all loved. By staying together, we know we will see light at the end of the tunnel. We know we will someday be getting those amazing hugs from Henry again (hi Henry). The warmth and compassion I felt here twenty years ago are stronger than ever. These qualities, and the friendship and caring of each one of you have changed my life. I am a better person for being here and having known each one of you. Thank you for being such an important part of my life. Namaste.