On March 23rd, we held the third Transition meeting, addressing the UUA question to envision our future, entitled “Who Will We Become?” Focusing on the central purpose of the church, we asked people what the mission and ministry of the current church have meant to them.  The results were extremely inspiring and very useful. The responses below provide every answer offered to that first question—”During your time at People’s Church, in what ways has the church supported or transformed your life?”—comprising a beautiful testimonial about the many ways in which the mission and ministry of our church has changed our lives.

  • Allowed me to build a community, an extended family for myself;
  • Feel the support, caring and compassion of people who care;
  • Opportunity to challenge beliefs;
  • Counsel when a parent was very ill;
  • Hospital visits;
  • A place where I get evaluated as a worthy person;
  • Introduced me to humanism – secular and religious;
  • Supported my exploration of spirituality and beliefs;
  • Encouraged me to develop connections to and in support of both church and larger communities;
  • Emotional home;
  • Challenged to explore own beliefs;
  • My kids (then), fun with tools (now);
  • I learned acceptance;
  • I learned a broader view of what religion is and can be;
  • I explored a mystic view of the universe;
  • An important emotional home for me;
  • Caring, committed community – being part of that gives me strength and joy;
  • A place where I can practice behaving well;
  • Helped me to grow as a person;
  • Been my second family;
  • Choir, drumming, and singing has given my life joy and given me a sense of community and acceptance;
  • Welcomed me with smiles;
  • Is always there for me, just knowing that in a time of need People’s people will be there is a big part of my life;
  • Provided a community when I was new to this area, for friends and activities;
  • Emotional support in times of need;
  • A liberal place when I worked in a conservative town;
  • The memorial garden is most meaningful to me because I have my husband close by;
  • Support in raising family and facing life issues;
  • RE helped us raise our children – a community where they could explore and share;
  • New friendships;
  • Given me a full-time religious life and integrated it all;
  • Fed and grew my soul and spirit from a period of darkness into light;
  • Provided a value-based substance to my family’s life and relationships with each other;
  • Vehicle to funnel my energy, talents, and strong convictions;
  • A place where my values and practices are embraced and understood (though they may not be mainstream);
  • Gave me roots, something to hold on to, keep me anchored in rough times;
  • Gave me wings, doesn’t confine my values, thoughts, dreams;
  • Gave me community, a sense of belonging to something bigger;
  • Helped me explore a variety of spiritual faiths;
  • Explore the concept of death, especially now as I grow nearer to it;
  • Gave me ways to be involved in the larger community, make it a better place;
  • Joy of watching children grow;
  • Place to be involved with children now mine are grown;
  • Opportunity to be involved musically through the bell choir;
  • Support through many of my life transitions – cancer, deaths, etc.;
  • Support and inspiration from many others farther along the path;
  • Led to a path for directly impacting social problems and needs at a level my work life did not;
  • Led to a path of waking up and practicing getting past myself;
  • A place to sing and share joy and fellowship with amazing people;
  • Allowed me a direct way to live out my values; Invited and encouraged me to share my natural gifts and talents with everyone;
  • Brought older people (70s-80s etc.) into my life and my children’s life;
  • Encouraged/allowed me to slow down at least once per week to think about what I’m doing and why, where I stand and why;
  • Respect of nature and human existence within the natural realm;
  • Enjoy being members of U/U group of people who share the same thoughts as my wife and I;
  • Being on staff helped me realize how resources are important and that part of the mission of the church is stewardship;
  • Participating in Feeding our Flame and building new building;
  • Allows me to explore new ideas, practices, meet new people who represent diversity;
  • Cultivated my patience for just being with other people, really meeting them, allowing people in;
  • Given me leadership skills, and a chance to use them in teaching and mentoring our young people;
  • Raised my conscience level on social issues and taught me how to use them in the community;
  • Teaching RE and learning from them family relationships with youth and their families;
  • Participating in Bazaar and working with others in kitchen and cooking together;
  • Let me feel comfortable in my efforts to bring music when I didn’t feel adequate elsewhere;
  • Opportunities to meet new people has been rewarding and freeing from my shyness;
  • The incredible amount of diversity in belief there is here, and that despite our differences we can all get along and create and inspire each other;
  • Open, accepting, welcoming, allowing and encouraging spiritual growth;
  • Weekly refocus of my actions to reflect my highest values;
  • Given my family a “safe” space for growth and exploration;
  • Times in the kitchen, Don’s pasty baking is always a wonderful experience that I look forward to every year;
  • Anti-racism education and work;
  • Helping me after I lost the love of my life;
  • Little things I do for the children and feeling appreciated;
  • Singing in the choir;
  • Helping people going through a transition;
  • Visiting shut-ins;
  • Chalice circles and all small group ministry;
  • I am part of a community in which I am valuable and needed to help others;
  • I learned as the ARAOMC guest speaker a few weeks ago discovered, it wasn’t until she realized the only person who she could transform was herself, despite work with “disadvantaged” populations whose lives she intended to transform;
  • Forming relationships at church and on committees;
  • Keeps me focused on what really matters;
  • Spiritually alive;
  • Socially connected;
  • Provides an outlet for music as ministry;
  • Helped me move past defensiveness about my core spiritual beliefs and freed me to be who I am in a public space;
  • Through RE–spiritual growth for my kids and myself;
  • Given me the time and space and community to share (in small groups) the challenges and triumphs in my world;
  • Given me a place to contemplate who I am and who I want to be both at church and in the world;
  • Teaching RE – I love working with People’s kids;
  • Knowing I can continue to seek;
  • Opened my awareness of the positive force and importance of the diverse values alive in this church community;
  • Helping my children grow in their religious lives;
  • To be accepted for different views;
  • Offered a safe place for diverse/non-mainstream beliefs;
  • Open invitation each Sunday to bring all of who we are to participate in our church community – gifts, talents, resources;
  • Enabled me to enter community as an active participant;
  • Depth of leadership and support which offers a springboard for my personal growth;
  • Stable and consistent place to go for peace, acceptance, and spiritual growth during very hard personal times;
  • Gain confidence and skills as a teacher;
  • Realize how connected I am to others, that I’m part of something larger than myself, that we are each a part of the larger whole and can have more effect together than individually;
  • Supportive foundation for my personal growth;
  • Teaching in RE program forced me to think more about beliefs;
  • Sunday service reminds me of need to live with more compassion, less self-centeredness;
  • Open-minded, safe sanctuary for my children to explore their own values in RE;
  • Space to grow as a facilitator, teacher and leader (RE, SSC, Chalice Circles);
  • Opportunities to deeply listen to other people’s journeys;
  • Opportunities to bring meaning and beauty into the larger community (Martha’s Table);
  • Space to become/learn how to be a religious adult;
  • Helped me grow into a more connected spiritual person;
  • Emotional home;
  • Humanism;
  • Taught me how to be a religious adult;
  • Help practice how to be decent and good;
  • Challenged and encouraged me to explore my own spirituality;
  • Get feedback, be evaluated as a person and personality;
  • Moved into stating my own theology;
  • Love and hugs (both literally and figuratively) are there when I need them;
  • Friendship;
  • Opportunity for growth;
  • Feeling valued;
  • Jill’s sermons helped me claim that I am “religious” and not just “spiritual” by giving religion the meaning of “living in right relations with self, family, community, the world”;
  • Deepened values;
  • Contact with compatible, different, questioning people, socially and to work with;
  • Allowed me to know my strengths and then encouraged me to apply them in what needed to be done “within these walls”;
  • Teach, organize, and lead in RE, adult ed, traditional committees, special projects;
  • Expand, change and affirm my life and world views;
  • Forced to interact with others through committees (Aesthetics and Building and Grounds) caused me to become more open and less self-involved;
  • Connection to a broader theology and community of similar seekers of personal truth;
  • Made me more tolerant of differences;
  • Meeting people who’ve served as examples of ones who are acting on their values;
  • Gave me words for what I believe and a place for my children to hear and experience these ideas from teachers and other children;
  • Reaffirmed the work I was doing for pay, as my life’s work – I was living my religion;
  • Helped me look for the positive, hope for the future, gave me support for my life struggles (music, women’s retreats, fellowship, lunches and dinners, etc.);
  • Friends and minister offered considerable support during this transition as my family has grown, which is support I did not have when my oldest was born;
  • Emphasized, more than ever, the importance of family;
  • My real friends are UUs; Supportive relationships with like-minded people have created opportunities to put my values into practice;
  • Feel more hopeful and less powerless;
  • The co-created Labyrinth and landscaping around the building, with grape trellis I enjoy eating;
  • Given me opportunities to quickly become involved in committees and grow socially;
  • Opportunities for group participation, honed my thinking about what’s really important to me;
  • Opportunity to attempt things/tasks I have not done before;
  • Understanding;
  • Helped me to connect with others and question what my main goal in life is;
  • Inspiration from Jill;
  • Community grounded in the heart recognizing the challenges of everyday life;
  • My spiritual growth, being surrounded by others who care what I think;
  • Discussion Group – challenged my intellect and encouraged open-mindedness through discussion of chosen topics;
  • Book Group – widened my reading choices (and thinking);
  • My family, feeling connected to a larger community, working with others on like goals, RE, and social justice;
  • An environment that helps me act on my values in the world;
  • Supported me in my beliefs and helped me to become more of the person I want to be;
  • It has helped me to determine what is important in my life.

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