Saturday, January 13, 2007

UU 101

Every year (every month in larger places) in most UU congregations, the Membership committee offers a course for newcomers and interested others on Unitarian Universalist history, theology, local events, etc., and today was our event at UUCWI. We had invited the recent visitors and those whom we knew to be interested in membership.

Our seminarian, Bill, who has offered this course many times now, did his usual excellent job of putting the seminar together and encouraging folks to come.

One of my favorite parts of the day is always listening to others' spiritual journeys and sharing my own. Today was no exception. We had nine people in attendance, with experiences ranging from those who had no church background to those who still felt very connected to an "inherited" religious faith but couldn't stomach the theology any more.

I had to leave after lunch and after offering my own take on UUism and my sense of ministry and call, to go up to NEKK, aka North End Koffee Klatch, our second Saturday gathering for northenders. We meet at Whidbey General Hospital and there have been times when I sat there all alone for two hours, drinking coffee, reading a book, and hoping someone will show up to keep me company.

Today we had eight people show up to enjoy a wide ranging discussion about farming on the island, how to support sustainable local agriculture without penalizing the small farmer or merchant who relies on out-of-state customers for her/his clientele, since the population of the island is not sufficient to support, for example, a lavender farm.

Sarah, a UUCWIer, is the proprietress of Lavender Wind Farm and she is passionate about the small farm business. Paula is a salmon and halibut fisher who, with her husband and son, fish Alaskan waters all summer and is impassioned about the damage done to wild fisheries by farmed fish (ask her about sea lice, for example). Others at the table today: Jack, a computer whiz; Pat, retired school principal and musician; Debbie, artist and musician; Kent, retired Navy pilot; Sally, alternative school teacher and chaplain.
And me.

What a great day!

1 comment:

LinguistFriend said...

I am impressed that you have been able to organize seminars for new members that last a full day. I have usually seen evening-length meetings for those moving towards membership, and new members, or short series (e.g. five evenings).
The hardest detail to integrate in these series seems to be pledging, making new members aware of the need for their support of congregational activities, and helping them figure out a reasonable notion of what they can afford to contribute, without it all being uncomfortable.
Locally a few UU men have met at 8 AM on Saturday mornings, at my favorite coffee house. But they do not constitute as large a group as the Lutheran retirees of both sexes who convene on weekday mornings in the same coffee house. Your group as described seemed to be nearly as large as the Lutherans; its is one of those areas in which we can learn from the mainline groups.