“You are welcome here.”
Our lay leaders repeat these familiar words each Sunday morning. It could be easy to dismiss this as a cliché, with little meaning behind it. But for The Unitarian Universalist Church of the North Hills, welcoming isn’t just something we say. It’s who we are, down to our core.
I’ve been attending services at UUCNH for about 2 years now, and been a member since November 2014. Prior to that, I never attended church regularly. I went to the Lutheran preschool in my hometown, and I’d sometimes attend Christmas Eve mass with my parents and some family friends at the Church of the Brethren.
In college, with a major in professional writing and a minor in history, I had the opportunity to learn about different world religions, from Christianity to Islam and everything in between. What struck me through all this study was not the differences between these religions, but the similarities. This helped me get down to the bottom of what bothered me about the traditional concept of religion. I saw so much “us vs. them” in the language, or “we are better than this other religion because…”.
I could also relate to Lucy Maud Montgomery’s celebrated heroine, Anne Shirley, when she said:
“Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I’d do. I’d go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I’d look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I’d just feel a prayer.”
I came across Unitarian Universalism two years ago when I was researching religions. I felt that my two young children and I needed a community where we would be accepted, loved, and supported. I found a quiz online that answered the question of what church was the right fit for me. I was a 100% match for Unitarian Universalism.
From the first day I set foot in the Unitarian Universalist Church of the North Hills, I felt like I belonged. I was greeted by some of the friendliest people I’ve ever encountered in my life. It didn’t take long at all before two interconnected thoughts crossed my mind:
1) Why didn’t I know this place existed sooner?
2) This is where I belong.
As an introverted, often socially awkward person, finding a community where I belong, and where I want to be around people as much as possible, has been an amazing experience. Not only have I found my spiritual home, but my children love it, too. I’m excited for them to continue to learn and grow in such a safe, open-minded environment.
Since I’ve been coming here, I’ve asked more questions of the world around me, and I feel like I have fewer answers than ever before. But it’s ok, because we’re all in this together.
Jennifer Suehr, Communications Team
Are you interested in sharing what UUCNH means to you? You can write a blog post, share a short video, or simply give us a quote or two that we might share on Facebook. If you’re interested in joining the Communications Team, we meet via Zoom every other Wednesday at 1 PM.