As a birthright Universalist, UUCGT has been my religious home for over 20 years. It is a place where week after week I am nourished and challenged in dimensions intellectually and religiously to be the best I can be. It is a place where I am proud to associate because of our constant work for justice and equity in the larger community. My appreciation of this earth began with my family, but the notion of the interdependency of all life is a hallmark of faith and guiding principle in how I attempt to live in relationship.
Fellow congregants, in May 2018 my wife, Pinkie, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She passed away peacefully four months later and we had a lovely Memorial Service in Oct. During this time our congregation reached out to my family and myself with a great deal of kindness, love, and compassion. I can’t adequately convey all of my feelings of gratitude to this congregation. My youngest daughter, Heidi, still comes with me to the Wednesday night dinners because she feels so welcomed and has made new friends. I am happy to continue my financial pledge of support to our UUCGT in order to make sure that this church community continues to thrive and grow. I hope others will join me, thank you.
My husband Jon and I moved to Traverse City in July of 2018 and became members of UUCGT shortly after attending our first Sunday service. Last year, as we entered into the annual pledge drive, we spoke briefly to the congregation about all the things we gained from our new relationship with UUCGT: community, spiritual connection, focus on social justice. These are the things that many of us cite when asked why we choose to be UUs. But lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about commitment. I’ve been asked to commit to many small areas of service since joining UUCGT: volunteering for Safe Harbor, attending rehearsals for the Vocal ensemble, or just making a salad for our Wednesday night dinners. I decided to up my level of commitment to the congregation last year by joining the Sunday Services Committee and then to increase it again by agreeing to become co-chair of that committee. When I am tempted to feel that the congregation is asking a lot of me, I remind myself that commitment is a gift on both ends of the giving/receiving continuum. If we share a commitment we have to be able to ask freely and often of one another. And we have to be willing to say yes as often as we are able. That should be true of the commitments we make to our families, our friends and to our spiritual community.