Sunday, July 5, 2015

My Faith Journey

*This was shared at the BRUU Journey Service on July 5, 2015.

You are looking at the youngest ever former Deacon at "my former church".  Also, probably the youngest Sunday School teacher.  I was a Presbyterian.  I became a Sunday school helper in the 8th grade for the 3rd grade and a full teacher in the 9th grade, teaching 4th, 5th, and finally middle school, where I stayed until Christmas of 2006.  I was a member of the youth group, the youth choir, on the activities team, assisted with curriculum development, and was made a deacon at the age of 23.  I knew my parables and my readings and was a model ‘Christian’.  I didn’t question anything.  I even, at one point, applied for the position as Youth Director, but alas, my collection of Christian rock cds wasn’t extensive enough to give me all the answers they thought I should have. 

At 25, I had been married for 1 1/2 years and was planning to start a family.  I had also started becoming aware of some things at the church that I wasn’t particularly proud of.  There were comments made about individuals that weren’t very nice and having witnessed them come from the pastor’s wife and associate pastor, well, irritated me to put it lightly.

Now, I need to back up and tell you a little about S.  When we moved back from Scotland and started attending "the church", the other kids weren’t all that welcoming.  They had grown up together and weren’t used to new kids.  S, however, approached me, welcomed me, and even set it up between our moms so that she could drive me to school and I wouldn’t have to ride the bus.  Sarah is also bi-sexual.  Well, on Christmas Eve of 2006 (at which point I had been at the church for 10 years), S found me in the sanctuary and she was in tears.  She had been informed by the pastor’s wife that she was no longer allowed in the Sunday school wing because parents were afraid she would influence their children.  That was it for me.  I couldn’t stay and let it be ok.  So, I left.  In the middle of service.  My sister-in-law and niece were with me and I said, we’re leaving, and we left.  I went back a week later to get my stuff from my room and have never been back.  I left a note for my kids, but they didn’t get it and I later found out that they were told I had to move away suddenly. (I did find some of them later on Facebook and tell them the truth).

Moving forward, 2 months later I found myself pregnant and excited and ……without a church family.  So, we started looking.  We looked for nearly a year.  My parents had already come to BRUU, so we decided to check it out.  We walked through those doors the morning after Auction (a rather quiet day) with our 5 week old baby and found welcoming arms.  Bea offered to keep Mikey in the nursery, which had seen very little use at that time, and we fell in love with the congregation.  5 weeks later we signed the book.

It has taken me some time to find what UU means to me and what that means for my family’s lives.  Raising first generation UU’s is no easy task.  There isn’t a rule book or a traditional church calendar.  I’ve picked apart the routines I knew and found no meaning.  Slowly, though, we have found some new ways.  We have UU prayers to the Spirit we say over dinner and light a chalice.  We celebrated Chalica for the first time this past year.  Principle 1 is repeated often in our house usually as a behavior reminder and we talk about Jesus as a cool dude who had some great ideas on how to live our lives.  And I finally rejoined the religious education world and am a member of the middle school team. 

And that’s where I am now, my journey continues.  And, many days, starting over with what that means today.