“Yes We Can!” UUFP Pledge Testimonial 3-7-21

Delivered during our 3/7/21 Sunday Service, this is the first in our “Yes We Can!” series of member testimonials as part of the 2021 – 2022 UUFP Canvass “Making the Foundation for What Follows.”


The theme for this year’s Pledge drive is for each of us to consider ourselves as “making the foundation for what follows,” so I’ll tell you a true story about my Unitarian foundations. And, I’ll use that word a lot.

When I first came to town, I was a lonely Atheist getting my copy of the American Atheist Magazine in a brown paper wrapper every month. Brown paper, so that my Bible belt neighbors would not know my secret identity. I was spiritually very lonely and felt that I had nowhere to fit in.

Ben Caum, who was a founding/foundational member of this Fellowship, was a client in our office, and when he found out I was an Atheist, he invited me to come visit the UUFP. Soon I was visiting. I liked what I heard. I joined. I pledged. It was such a relief to find a safe and accepting place where I could be comfortable as an Atheist.

For my first pledge I added up the estimated cost of the coffee I drank, the printing costs of the program and doubled it to $35—my first pledge. It wasn’t long before Ben’s wife, Margaret, a larger than life, occasionally outspoken early leader of the UUFP, called me up to discuss the inadequacy of my pledge. My eyes were opened. I was embarrassed. I adjusted my pledge to match the worth of what I had found. [FYI: The Caum Room is named for them and the foundation they helped lay for us.]

Well, I’m still an Atheist—who believes in the incredible combining power of atoms to make us—and all these things around us. For an Atheist, you might guess, I should have a short spiritual journey, but turns out I’m still on it. I have a Community of open-minded people who are incredibly smart and on a weekly basis offer me something new to ponder in the Sermon or Forum. I had a ton of fun a few years back with our now defunct 8 – 80-year-old, co-ed softball team. I have met monthly with our Unitarian’s United for Profit Investment Club, and we have averaged a phenomenal 12% return on investment for the last 23 years (yes, we are still accepting new members). I have been in six Fellowship Circles where we ask such introspective questions of each other that I am forced to ponder things about myself that I would usually never consider. When the Circle members share these thoughts, we are forging the relationships that hold our community together.

These things are important to me, and I enjoy participating and supporting them commensurate with the value they bring to my life. And I know that by doing this, I am also helping to strengthen the foundation that will allow others to build even more opportunities for this Community.