“Ours is a church which began with a conversation among friends,” our history begins. Today, our mission is to be a beloved community that nourishes minds and spirits, fights injustice, and transforms the world through loving action – much like it has been since it was established 150 years ago. As we prepare to celebrate our sesquicentennial, we are seeking members’ stories that help us to reflect on First U when we are at our best and hope that you have stories to share.
Please take a look at the following questions/prompts we have prepared. What memories and stories do these questions spark in you? If you are willing, would you please respond to any – or all – that stand out for you? We hope to use some of the stories we receive in our annual report as well as at our celebration in April.
1. First Impressions: First impressions are really important. They create a set of expectations that set the tone for future involvement. Take a moment and think back about your beginning with First U. What were your most positive and powerful first impressions? What first attracted you to First U and its people?
2. Beloved Community: Martin Luther King envisioned the Beloved Community as a society based on justice, equal opportunity, and love of one's fellow human beings. We strive to be a beloved community, one where all feel safe, accepted and loved – and empowered to be our authentic selves. Reflect on a high point in your life as a member of this church – a time when you felt embraced, cared for, respected or enriched by the community. What was the situation? What happened? Who was involved?
3. Spiritual Growth and Inspiration: When operating at its best, church is a place for inspiration and exploration. It provides meaningful and inspiring worship experiences, opportunities to stretch its members’ hearts and minds, and encourages them to spiritual growth, drawing on the wisdom and perspective of diverse religions and culture traditions. Tell a story about a time when you were on the receiving end of a quality moment – when a church service, religious education program or opportunity for dialogue inspired or delighted you. What was it like? How did you feel? In what way, if any, did the experience enhance your relationship with a person or persons in the church? How did you grow or change as a result of the experience?
4. Reaching out to the Wider Community: Responsibility to our church is not limited to the work we do within our walls. One of our UU principles calls for us to practice justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. Another asks us to pursue the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all. “Reaching out” means developing, supporting, and participating in programs and activities that respond to the needs of our local community. Tell a story about when you were engaged in living these principles in the larger community, either locally or as a part of a positive force in the world. What was the high point of your experience? What was your contribution?
5. Other stories of First U at our best: please share any other stories that you believe exemplify us at our best.