By Ardyce Curl
“I think my parents might have become Catholic because they believed their children would have a greater chance to attend Catholic schools, which at the time were considered better at providing an education that would result in financial and social upward mobility,” Edmund said. “The Christian Brothers espoused forward thinking ideas about religion and its practice, and they instilled a sense of service.”
Edmund said his Christian Brothers religious beliefs were challenged when he moved to Mobile, Alabama in 1980.
“I was turned off by religion as practiced in Mobile, and I stopped attending religious services,” he said. “I became aware of Unitarian Universalism because the UU congregation in Mobile took out advertisements in a community newspaper that I ran.
“The UU congregation was also a frequent co-sponsor with an education foundation I ran in hosting programs on science and humanity,” Edmund said.
When he accepted a job with WMU in 2001, he was searching for a church that could help with the religious education of his children. Noah was 7 and Manny was 1.
Edmund searched the telephone directory and found People’s.
He said, “Here I found an open-minded and caring community. I find the religious education amazing. And I find I can sit through a sermon again.
“In 2015-16 when I was treated for pancreatic cancer, I was the beneficiary of much help and support from People’s people, who provided meals and took Manny and Clarice to church and elsewhere so they didn’t miss their normal schedule,” he said.
He continues to come so his children can grow up in an environment that nurtures caring and helps them become confident in their religious identity. Asked about the source of religious wisdom for himself, he said he believes we draw religious wisdom from many sources including arts and science.
He is currently volunteering as an usher here at People’s.
(Edmund, 68, grew up in Hong Kong, did his undergraduate work in Lincoln, NE, attended graduate school in Ames, IA and did postdoctoral work in West Berlin. He has been an associate dean in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Western Michigan University since 2001. He is a divorced father raising two children: Manny, 16, and Clarice, 10. His stepson, Noah Phillips, attended People’s until he completed high school.)