Following is an interview with a People’s person talking about why she came to People’s and why she continues to participate.
Cary Betz-Williams and her son Nicholas Betz-Thorn, have been coming to People’s since 2008.
“It was mostly out of the need for community after the death of my parents and husband,” she said.
“I knew about People’s from family friends who had attended and recommended it,” Cary said. “Nich and I liked it from the beginning and It has become more than community. It has become family. The people here have helped me raise my son into a wonderful young man, and I’m grateful for that. I’ve been a member since 2008, and Nich, now 17, is considering joining on his own.”
“I was Roman Catholic and attended Saint Thomas More student parish until I was 19, when I stomped away because I was tired of feeling guilty and conflicted all the time,” Cary said.
“After that I didn’t attend church for a number of years except as courtesy to friends,” she said. “I flirted with atheism, which didn’t feel quite right; and then I happened into Paganism, which did. Wicca (a modern form of paganism) felt the closet to what I was looking for, though I never found a group that I was comfortable with; and so I was a solitary follower. Along this path I spent time at a Spiritualist church. My great grandmother had been a spiritualist and my aunt was a strong medium long before such a thing went mainstream. I met some interesting people and had some odd and enlightening experiences along both these paths and felt comfortable with who I was spiritually for the first time in my life.”
Now at People’s, Cary is very active. She, has taught K-1 classes, assisted with O.W.L. (lifespan sexuality education), helped on the Religious Education Curriculum Committee, volunteered at the Holiday Bazaar and helps wash coffee cups. She is currently on the RE Committee for the second time, recently joined the ARAOMC Committee, and is helping with next year’s curriculum. She also helps lead the Youth group and acts as a greeter on Sunday mornings.
She wants to continue to teach and says she would sometime like to join the choir and the Social Justice Coordinating Committee.
“Rev Rachel’s sermons keep me going on difficult days,” she said.
Cary said she would like to see the church work harder to become more diverse and to reach out to the larger community like Caroline Bartlett Crane did.
(Cary, 55, is employed at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum as an Interpretation specialist. She also has a small tutoring service where she works with students who have learning difficulties such as dysgraphia, dyslexia, ADD/HD and executive functioning issues. Her son Nicholas, 17, also attends People’s.).