In 1987 Scott and I started searching for churches. I’d like to say that we felt a spiritual vacuum, but what catapulted us was our 7-year-old daughter who walked around with a children’s bible begging to attend church, preferably conservative Lutheran like her friends. We wanted a liberal community allowing our children to decide for themselves what to believe and that’s just one aspect of what we found at UUCW. For many reasons, our decision to join and pledge at UUCW 35 years ago was the right choice for our family.
Fast forward 35 years……
Our daughter is on the Board at her UU fellowship in Durham, NC, where the church plays a large role in her family’s life. On the other hand, our eldest son joined a conservative mega-church in Appleton, while our youngest belongs to a small liberal Christian community in Austin. For our family, the RE manta of “every religion is accepted and UUCW encourages you to make your own choice” was followed!
How else did our family benefit? In the 80s and 90s, there was an active group of parents with young children who met regularly in each other’s houses. The children played in the host’s rec room while the parents discussed spirituality and parenting with like-minded parents. As young parents, helpful to us on many fronts.
When our daughter, Mel, came out at the age of 15, one of the first out kids at Wauwatosa West, she was seriously bullied. But she was accepted at UUCW. When I found a facilitator for a youth LGBT group, UUCW offered to host giving her an opportunity to meet other GLBT kids. Ten years later, Suzelle officiated Mel and Carey’s commitment ceremony. In short, UUCW accepted, comforted, and celebrated with our daughter throughout her life.
When our son, Brendan joined the US Army and deployed twice to Iraq, this community was supportive of us and understood our pain at having a son fight in a war that we vehemently opposed.
UUCW also helped our youngest son, Lucas, make important choices. When he was active in the High School group, he attended activities with Repairers of the breach leading to his interest in Social Work and working with homeless youth and adults in Minneapolis and Austin and volunteering in social service agencies in Central America.
So, UUCW not only is the “best place to be” on Sunday morning, it enters your heart and souls. For our family, it had a profound impact on the five of us.
What have we given back to the church? Scott and I both taught RE for over ten years including the Our Whole Lives curriculum. I chaired the RE committee for a few years, facilitated Soul Circles, and assisted with the auction in addition to other activities throughout the years. Currently, Scott and I enjoy being the worker bees. Serving coffee or working on cleanups are our way of serving this community, which gave so much to us throughout the years.
However, as much as we have benefited, during covid, we nearly stopped participating, as others did. Congregations in churches throughout the larger community have dwindled. Fewer people mean fewer pledges to support the vision of the church. Once Julie was hired, we returned to our home, our community.
I encourage you all to pledge and to reach out to UUCW members and friends who have not fully returned urging them to return. For those of you with young children-stay with us-grow with us. You never know what facets of UUCW might change the course of your children’s lives.
Thank you UUCW!
If you could tell this congregation why you love them, what would you say?
How has it touched you, fed you, needed you? What has it taught you? What have you seen UUCW doing? How has this community affirmed you, loved you? When has your love for UUCW spilled out of you? How has UUCW changed the world, or changed you?
During this month of our annual pledge drive, let’s share our love! There are lots of ways to write a letter…
- Pick up special stationery at UUCW, or use your own
- Drop the letter in the large red “love letter” box at UUCW
- Send your love letter by email to Rev. Julie or Kelly Bognar
- Send it by post: 13001 W. North Ave. Brookfield, WI 53005
Please include your name and let us know how you would like it to be shared. You could:
- Read it at a service in March
- Offer for it to be shared in the e-news
- Allow us to post it on a bulletin board at UUCW
- Send it directly to particular individuals, or call them and read it to them
- Keep it in your heart where it can grow and spread
There are no length requirements. It could be a haiku or an essay; a bullet list or a personal story. Maybe it will be a poem or simply a heartfelt note of gratitude. What is your love letter to UUCW?