MurrayPatrick and Wendy Murray

Patrick and Wendy Murray sought out People’s and have been attending for more than a year.

“We were looking for free coffee,” Patrick joked. ”But, seriously, we were looking for fellowship, community and an outlet to explore our spirituality.”

They had been attending Beverly Unitarian in Chicago about a year before moving back to the Kalamazoo area. Patrick had grown up Catholic. Wendy had had no affiliation with a church.

“We had felt connected to the UU Church in Chicago and we sought to continue on that path as well as to connect with the community near where we would be living,” Patrick said.

They say they’ve found a spiritual community and are growing in fellowship.

“We walk away from services feeling both connected to our world and challenged by it,” Wendy said. “There is both comfort and discomfort.”

“Frequently we leave with the feeling that the topics, readings and discussions were exactly what we needed in relation to whatever happens to be going on in our lives at the moment,” Patrick said.

“As we meet and connect with more people, we are starting to feel more a part of the church community,” Wendy said. “This sense of community and continued involvement in the church helps to encourage us to participate more fully.”

They appreciate knowing that here there are like-minded individuals who don’t have all answers, but are willing to question and search together.

Patrick said, “The sermons often give both a sense of fulfillment and keep us thinking and help us see things in a new way.

“That all people are worthy and deserving of love is the most important part of the mission statement for us,” Wendy added.

“We also love how strong a commitment the church shows for the kids,” Wendy said. “Our daughter begs to go to church every Sunday and is disappointed when we have to miss,”

Wendy and Patrick say they’ve felt a bit reluctant to completely jump into committees but have found themselves helping move chairs or working in the kitchen occasionally and are willing to help where they are able.

“We recently attended an ISAAC meeting and were inspired by the people we saw and met there,” Patrick said.

They say they’ve found it overwhelming sometimes in the foyer after the services watching people mingling and talking with those they are glad to see each week.

“But we know it takes time to really get to be part of any community,” Wendy said. “We’re grateful to everyone who has reached out to us and made us feel welcome. We also know that we’ve barely scratched the surface of the resources available here.”

(Patrick, 47, is a supply chain and logistics professional currently seeking fulltime employment, and writes a weekly article about various parenting topics for an online start-up company.   Wendy, 45, is practitioner of traditional Chinese Medicine working with the Acupuncture Center of Southwest Michigan. Their eight-year-old daughter, Fiona, is a student at Gilkey Elementary in Plainwell.)

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