Confessions, part 5

There were several things that struck me about my first service at All Souls Church, Unitarian.  First, there was the diversity of the congregation, reflecting the true urban community that I had been craving.  Second, there was the music... the choir sang beautiful negro spirituals, not the stuffy hymns from my days in Lutheran school.  And finally, there was the genuine warmth that members of the congregation showed towards each other and visitors.   

But I have to confess that I was too preoccupied with the "churchiness" of All Souls to be able to fully embrace all of this.  Curiously, the formal religious elements were both discomforting and comforting at the same time.  And as people rushed about greeting each other, the commotion after service was also disorienting.  

I didn't know it at the time, but Sept 14th, 2003 was only the second Sunday of the new church year, after "Homecoming Sunday," and also the occasion of the first sermon by Rev. Shana Goodwin as the new associate minister.  She also led an "Introduction" to All Souls after the service.  Since one of my resolutions in this new city was to become more involved in the local UU congregation, I went to investigate.  A group of two dozen or so of us "newbies" crowded into the Eaton room, named after the Reverend David Eaton, to learn a little more about All Souls and Unitarian Universalism.  We did the customary going around the room, introducing ourselves, telling each other why we were interested in Unitarian Universalism.  I don't remember what I said.  

What I do remember is another member of the group saying that what she liked about UU was that "You can believe anything you want."  I was just about to smirk and roll my eyes (something that my friends tell me that I'm very good at) - thinking to myself that there was that fluffiness again - when Rev Shana responded, "I'm not sure that I agree with that.  Is it that you can believe anything you want or that you can believe what you have you to believe?" My eyes stopped rolling and my ears perked up.

Well... that was interesting.  Maybe there was more to UU than I thought.

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