A letter from John Denboer:

I wanted to thank you very much for creating such an amazing and wonderful church and community!
My family and I have been looking for a “home church” and, every time we attend here, I know we have found it!
I have never felt so accepted, loved, and embraced as I have here!
Seeing people that share our vision and mission of social justice is really invigorating and refreshing!

Our family is John, Natalie, Camden and Anders Denboer.


A letter from Deb Ruesch:

I was born in 1959 into a family of religious division, my mother’s side being Polish Catholic and my father’s, German Protestant. According to my grandmothers, I learned early on, that the ‘other side’ of my family was irreparably flawed and surely going to hell. Being reminded regularly about how bad each half of my lineage was from the ‘other side’, I grew up feeling I was 100% bad, unlovable, and unworthy.

My parents had my two older sisters’ baptized Catholic to appease mom’s family while my younger brother and I were baptized Protestant for dad’s. When I was 7 my alcoholic parents split. Dad left to keep drinking, and mom was hospitalized in an intervention that saved her life.  As you might imagine, these were hard times for our family.

My maternal grandparents took us kids in and under my grandmother’s rule I was baptized, a second time, as Catholic, in front of my 2nd grade Communion Class. Embarrassing, but this religious education lesson was clearly far bigger than me.

My siblings and I were placed in foster care when it became too much for our elderly grandparents to manage. A year or so later, I was moved in with a different foster family when the first one proved unhealthy. In each situation, I faced many changes and experienced another new religion.

Mom regained custody of me and my younger brother when I was 12 but within 3 years she had relapsed with prescription drugs and was back in treatment. My brother was returned to the foster care system and I was taken in by my 18-year-old sister.

By the time I turned 18, religion was no longer a part of my life. Having already gone through so much at such a young age, I disavowed any form of it and chose the path of atheism for a time. I eventually called myself agnostic when I became comfortable with the notion of a Higher Power through my own healing and 12-step program work.

During this time I also learned a bit about Judaism and began exploring Eastern Religions, too. Something eventually switched in my mind from all religions being flawed to each having shared and unique insights to the vast mysteries of life.

Still, having been exposed to so many religions through the years, and not feeling a connection to anyone in particular, I didn’t think I would ever find a church. But I was longing for a sense of community.

I came here, in 2011, through an invitation to sing in the choir, with no commitment to join the church. And. I became a member that same year. I fell in love with the warm receptive environment, the open-mindedness, non-judgment, non-proselytizing atmosphere. Here, I found a place where all are welcome, all are accepted where ever we are on our spiritual or religious path. We are encouraged to learn, grow, share, and act in ways that are life-affirming to self and others.

I answered the call to sit on the Board of Trustees and was voted in as President in 2012, learning and growing as I served. I gratefully received a scholarship to attend UUA’s Midwest Leadership School. I shared my growing leadership skills on the Nominating, Worship Ministry, and Stewardship Committees, as well as in many other roles.

The past 5 years have presented me with numerous health challenges so I do not come to church often but I am always welcomed with open arms when I do pop in and I so appreciate knowing that my intermittent attendance does not preclude me from being accepted wholeheartedly when I am here. And, I greatly appreciate the option to watch services from home.

Of course, I especially love being here to sing with Kaleidoscope when I can. That remains my primary spiritual practice and shared ministry, for now.

I love UUCW for so many reasons. Whether I am deeply involved or on the periphery as I am currently, I feel very loved and valued, here. And I always leave feeling good – better than when I arrived.  Truly, the main reason I love our faith community is because of all the wonderful people who are involved. You are the heart and soul of this church.

Thank you for all that you are, and all that you do, here, and in our world.

I love you.



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?