There is a haven in our midst. It is accepting of all religions and even of those, like me, with no conventional religion. I had met some members when I was volunteering for Obama in Greenport. I did some internet research and liked what I saw. I could not believe that I had never found this place before. It is a hidden gem.
I had yearned for the community of a “church” but did not hold the same beliefs as others in any other church and find it hard to be hypocritical, even for good, and so, I remained alone. I was so filled with joy in November, after the election, and needed to be around good people, so the Sunday after Election Day, I went to the First Universalist Church of Southold. The people made me feel welcome. It seemed the Reverend spoke directly to me. The sanctuary was beautiful and peaceful and the music was wonderful.
I found that the smallest deeds elicited great gratitude. There were opportunities to do good works without jumping in with both feet. It is a Unitarian Universalist congregation whose seven principles, in my opinion, boil down to “be the best person you can be .” I attend when I am joyful, knowing my joy will be shared and that I may bring comfort to someone who feels less joyful that day. I attend when I feel low, knowing I will receive unobtrusive support and will likely hear something that will lighten my load. I volunteer when I can.
I decline when I can’t. I feel good about either decision. It has grounded me. It has given me a base from which to do all the idealistic things I always meant to do but did not know where to start. It has supported me when I had nothing to give. It requests much but expects nothing. There have to be others like me, either without a recognized religion, not fully comfortable with the religion they were raised in, or even, happy in your religion but looking for more and to be connected more fully with people of other beliefs. I encourage everyone to stop in some Sunday (10:30 a.m.) “at the bend.” You will hear uplifting words and lovely music. You will be encouraged to stay and have coffee and snack with us in the parish hall after services and meet a truly diverse group of interesting people. We are a tiny congregation with a big communal heart.
Additionally, I don’t believe in God but I try to live a basically “Christian” life. Jesus had some cool ideas. So finding a ‘church’ that not only accepts me as a non-believer, but supports me was amazing!
*There are seven principles which Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote:
The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.