Marijo SteenstraMarijo Steenstra grew up in a very conservative religious environment in a Christian Reform Church.

“As a child and growing up I sincerely believed and strived to live my life within those beliefs, but as time went on I found it harder and harder to believe in things like the virgin birth, resurrection and especially a 7-day creation,” Marijo said.

“I still found it possible to suspend my disbelief and continued to live in compliance with God’s will,” she added.  “I still felt connection with the others who had been brought up as I had. There are still many very good people who hold onto faith.

“But as I moved out into the wide world and established connections and friendships with people outside that particular faith, I found it impossible to embrace a God that would “save” some and “condemn” others based on which parts of which books they believed. This led to doubt about life after death and even the existence of God.

“I still feel the need to live my life within an ethical system,” Marijo said. “The seven UU principles happen to put into words the principles by which I choose to live.” She said that the inherent worth and dignity of every human being is the most important part of the mission statement for her; and she finds the teachings of Christ and of Buddha to be sources of religious wisdom.

Marijo said she first came to People’s in 1999 when a friend invited her to a book club discussion group.

“After adopting my first daughter I was interested in finding a church home and I was looking for a liberal religious ethical education for my daughter and a social support network with like minded people,” Marijo said.

Through the years both Marijo and her two daughters have participated in religious education activities. It’s important to Marijo that she establish connections with people to provide and receive emotional support in life events.

She said, “I’ve found the church and the congregation at People’s to be greatly supportive in helping me to live in compliance with human principles.”

(Marijo, 58, is a gynecologist. She has two daughters: Della, 17, and Pearl, 13.)

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