Confessions, part 3

In September of 2003 I moved to Washington, DC in order to start a masters program in liberal studies at Georgetown. After much thought and hesitation, I had decided to leave a career in science.  As much as I loved science (and still do), I needed to do something where I could more easily see how my work made the world a better place.  Tho I wasn't sure what that something was.  Having briefly considered law school, I finally decided to   pursue public policy with an emphasis in bioethics.  As the Spirit would have it, the professor who's classes on bioethics I had planned to take was diagnosed with cancer that same Fall.  I never took a single class with him. Instead, I ended up diving in head-first into a field even more rarefied than science, religion.

There were a couple of other things I hoped to accomplish with the move. Sick of living in the sheltered suburbs, I was determined to live inside the city again, to actually walk among people. I settled in the neighborhood of Columbia Heights, mainly because that's what I could afford. (I would not be able to afford to move here now, but that's another story.) And I had a vague idea that I would try to get more involved with the local UU congregation than I had been on Long Island. After moving here, an internet search told me that there were two UU congregations within DC, and one of them was just around the corner from my new domicile. Up until then, I had never heard of All Souls Church, Unitarian.

On Sunday morning as I approached the old building, I grew more apprehensive with each step at how church-like the church looked, much more so than the building that had housed the fellowship that I had attended in Stony Brook.  All Souls Church is a building that I have since come to love, but that morning, with its tall steeple and high windows (classic protestant architecture), all I could think of was Lutheran school and the Christian hellfire and damnation that I had rejected. I walked slower and slower staring up at the steeple, wondering how to reconcile this with the nearly secular religion that I thought I knew UU to be.   And then my eyes returned to street level and I came to a startled stop, right in front of All Souls' senior minister Rev. Robert Hardies... dressed for service in black robe and blue and purple stole.

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Acknowledgments is made possible in part by generous support from the Fahs Collaborative