I have been a member of this congregation for 50 years and I have been a Unitarian for 64 years. That’s pretty strange, I guess, for someone who doesn’t profess to have any religious beliefs.
I was raised with little religion – only vague and infrequent references to god or heaven by a mother who wasn’t churched but who wanted her children to be conventional, and a father who didn’t seem to be religious at all except when he said ‘grace’ at Thanksgiving dinner. I have always considered myself an atheist – meaning, for me, with nothing that I can call ‘god’.
When I found the little Unitarian church near the University in Berkeley when I was a 20-year-old college student I felt as if I had at last found a place where I belonged. [I’m not saying Unitarian Universalist because at that time the two denominations hadn’t joined forces]. It was there I met and married my first husband, the father of my children; and later after we divorced I met and married my late husband Bill at Starr King – we were together for almost 42 years before his death last year. My children were raised in U-U churches and at U-U camps, as were most of my grandchildren, and consider themselves Unitarians, even if they don’t attend church;.
This congregation – Starr King Church – is my second home and a large part of my extended family. I love everyone here. It’s a place where I feel free to be myself and to express my opinions and be accepted for who I am. There is no other place or group where I feel this same sense of belonging.
I am proud to be part of a group that is trying to make the world a better place; to be part of a group that believes we are all one people – that differences in skin color or sexual orientation or place of origin for instance, are not important differences.
I am glad to be part of a group that can both celebrate and grieve together, maybe both at the same time as we frequently do at memorial services. We can party and dance and sing and cry together, and we can work together for causes we believe in.