By Ardyce Curl

Emily Searles grew up attending a UU church in Elkhart, Indiana. When she moved to the Kalamazoo area in May 2001, she sought out People’s.

She said, at first, she came to services only occasionally because she was working the third shift as a desk clerk in a hotel at that time.

Later when she began working in a greenhouse, her schedule enabled her to come to People’s more regularly. The greenhouse was a natural place for her because she enjoys cooking, gardening, herbs and natural plants.

She says now she feels she must come to the services at People’s.

“Sometimes I might be inclined to stay home Sunday mornings,” she said, “but I would be inclined to lose all hope if I didn’t come.

“I like it that this religion is multicultural,” she said. “I take in the information and it’s healing for me. It lightens my burden.”

Other sources of religious wisdom for her are Buddhism, Yoga, science and National Public Radio. She said she first learned about Buddhism at her church in Elkhart many years ago.

“I think we should have a commercial for People’s on WMUK radio occasionally,” she said when asked what she would like to see happen at People’s that is not happening now.

Emily sometimes helps with the coffee hour before the church services and especially enjoys singing in the choir.

“Choir is community to me,” she said. “We’re a team.  We don’t necessarily have to talk to each other. We just sing.” She finds pleasure in that.


(Emily, 46, is a rural mail carrier for the US Postal service. Her 11-year-old son, Ethan Wojtas attends the Religious Education program.)

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