A conversation with Rev. Julie (Jullan) Stoneberg and Dave Cicero, Director of  Lifespan Religious Education

Rev. Jullan: In a recent interview, journalist Ezra Klein reflected on his life, saying, “I don’t think people were meant to do this.” He was talking about going it alone, without a surrounding community. Building a kin network, he said, is really hard. His interviewer, Anna Sale, then wondered about what she wants to spend time doing in order to create the kind of family culture she wants for her kids, saying “I’m like, huh, should we be going to church?”

My answer? YES! Of course, coming on Sundays is the place to start. That’s a great way to begin to make friends and to ponder the big questions of life. Then, to go deeper…to truly create lasting relationships of care and belonging…takes more effort and intention…by making space in your life to give those relationships your attention…by making a commitment to your spiritual life by choosing to journey alongside others.

Dave: My answer is also YES! Committing to be a regular part of our UU community (back when our daughter was young) shifted my family’s outlook – and social support network. I thought that making Sunday services a regular activity would feel like “another obligation” for us to fulfill. Instead, we received fulfillment we didn’t even realize we’d been missing. (Ask me sometime about some of the reasons we “became UU for our child but stayed UU for us.”)

I am one who relies on being part of organized groups to do many things I tend to not get to on my own. And I can say that being part of some of the small groups here at UUCW has been personally, as well as professionally, rewarding.

Rev. Jullan: We know it can be really hard to find and maintain kin networks that are meaningful. Yet doing that is exactly what this place, UUCW, is all about! UUCW’s covenanted small groups, such as Soul Circles and UU Wellspring, provide opportunities to connect through sharing, deep listening, and personal reflection. Perhaps joining one of these is your next step!

Here are some testimonials from participants:

“Soul Circles was very meaningful. It gave me a chance to reflect deeply on important themes and try new activities that I wouldn’t otherwise make time for during the busyness of everyday life as a working parent.
It helped me feel more connected to the church simply by being there outside of Sunday services and giving me the opportunity to get to know at least a few members on a deeper level.”
– Nikki Etter

“I found the topics and discussions personally relevant, important, emotionally healing, and food for my soul. I look forward to our next season.
I made closer ties to people I knew – and I met new people, which is always healthy.”
– Lynda Kimmel

 

“Outlet for introspection & connecting with others in a meaningful way; think deeply about a topic and do activities I would not have explored otherwise.
You get to know one another in a deeper way; keeps you connected to the community.”
– Jennifer Vallier

 

Dave: And here’s the really good news: enrollment in this year’s programs is now open! Click to learn more and register for UU Wellspring or Soul Circles. These groups start up for the church-year very soon, so do act soon….

Rev. Jullan: Of course, these offerings are not the only way to “become engaged”. (For example, you may have ideas for other groups, and if so, please share those with Dave or with me.) And there are less formal “drop-in” events on the horizon – and we encourage you to take part in those, too. But showing up, repeatedly, investing time and energy in relationships is the way to build a lasting, loving community…a kin network…that will surround you and your family for a lifetime.