— Why I’m Not Ready to Say I’m No Longer a UU

August 5, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Posted in Online Ministry | 3 Comments

Blogger Stephane Rector, a person who identified as UU but who left the church recently, posted at the end of July a thoughtful blog on why she has left UUism. In “Why I’m Not a Unitarian Universalist,” she says she has been trying to practice community in a UU congregation but that she doesn’t fit in. She has tried very hard to find a place in UUism because she believes in the principles and values. She sought out UU resources in many places, including the Church of the Larger Fellowship, but:

“My history with Unitarian Universalism is filled with much pain and disappointment. I tried to locate a place for myself in my local fellowship, figure out a way that my skills could be of use to the community while challenging me to grow and live up to my values. I joined my local congregation about four years ago, and almost immediately tried to find these opportunities for myself. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find my niche. It turned out that what I have to offer isn’t what the local fellowship needed…

“It finally dawned on me that this didn’t mean I’m defective in anyway, it meant that the church’s needs are different from what I can offer. In other words, they didn’t have a place for me. I needed something different. I needed a church community that I could grow with, one that I would need and it would need me too.”

She turned to an Episcopalian congregation and has been happy there.  I strongly recommend you read what she says in her blog. I don’t know her but her thoughts hit a nerve in me.

I felt I could grow in my home congregation in my first 1.5 years as a UU. But in a blink, everything changed for a variety of reasons. Now four years later, I’ve traveled and worked abroad and in several U.S. cities trying to find a community that is truly open and comfortable with practicing right relationship and radical hospitality.  I have seen how I could contribute to several congregations but it’s clear by their actions that there’s no place that works for me. That’s quite a statement for someone who falls in the middle of the introvert/extrovert spectrum and for one who has been willing in the past to practice great patience.  The workplace still offers me more chances for ministry and devotional practice than organized religion.

So, I still wear my chalice every day  as a movable prayer but also to attract other UUs.  And I’m finding some wonderful new friends this way. Maybe we will fall into an unspoken covenant as we get to know one another.

I’m still a UU. I’m just finding sanctuary outside of a church.

3 Comments »

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  1. I especially like your idea of “a community that is truly open and comfortable with practicing right relationship and radical hospitality.” It’s a lofty goal shared in word if not deed by UUs, and we need to rexamine our progress constantly. It’s also a goal about journey instead of destination, one that requires constant work, course adjustment, reversal, redirection, re-examination… We don’t suddenly reach a finish line and get to sit down, and I think this is where we may falter the most. This mistake of destination instead of journey seems to be a marker of privilege in the work I do on diversity and inclusivity, so I wonder if we don’t need to include more examinations of (our own) privilege in our congregations. If we don’t talk about these things, they will only worsen with time.

    • Wow, Eric and June, you’ve given us much to think on. I agree that all of us, UUs and not, can only aspire to form “a community that is truly open and comfortable with practicing right relationship and radical hospitality.” Being human, we fail. Being hopeful, we try again.
      Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Thank you for the comment on my post and the shout out on your blog. It’s good to know that my words are resonating, especially because when I was going through it I felt so alone, like I was the only one who struggled to find a place in a religion that promotes itself as accepting of so many . I’ve since then found a plethora of blogs that share similar experiences and now know that I’m not so weird.

    That’s the great thing about the internet – being able to share your story with more people and connecting with fellow spiritual travelers.

    I’m really looking forward to exploring your blog and learning more about your story and perspective.


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