Grow in Wonder, Connect in Love, Engage in Service, Inspire Generosity
By Megan Wasilausky
How has the fellowship helped me to grow in wonder?
Like many parents, I sought out a Unitarian Universalist (UU) fellowship when my kids became old enough for Sunday School. I attended Lutheran Sunday school as a child, and while I am no longer Christian, I appreciated learning the messages of showing love and kindness in the world, as well as gaining some knowledge of Christianity and the bible. The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula (UUFP) is a place where my children can grow in their religious knowledge and develop their own spiritual beliefs. While I started attending church again for my children, I never realized the benefits I would gain from being a part of worship services. I continue to grow in wonder here because of the sermons and workshops, often challenging me to think of my spirituality in new ways. I love coming into the sanctuary a few minutes before services start and listen to the beautiful music. Singing hymns together brings back fond memories of singing in church as a child. Of course, now that I'm a UU, I have to scan the lyrics to see if I want to sing them or not!
How have I seen UUFP members connect in love?
From the moment my family and I first stepped into the fellowship, we felt the love of this congregation. We just moved to Virginia and were still staying in a hotel getting settled. Everyone was so welcoming and genuinely interested in getting to know us. We soon found ourselves at potlucks, picnics, and even camping with the UUFP. I feel like there is a truly authentic community here, with so many opportunities to reach out and connect with one another. Soup Socials, potlucks, book club, yoga, game nights, women's drumming, and knitting are just some of the ways that allow a time for members to connect in love and get to know each other on a personal level.
How have I been encouraged to engage in service, both within and beyond the fellowship?
As a busy parent, I appreciate that the fellowship offers both small and large roles to serve. I may not have the time right now for larger roles, but it is true that many hands make light work. I have found my time volunteering with the hospitality team to be an easy way to help Sunday services run smoothly. Whether it's washing coffee mugs, taking attendance, ushering, or staying after service to vacuum, there are so many opportunities to help here in simple ways. I believe that every person here has a talent to serve the UUFP. I am also a member of the Planning Committee. It's an exciting time in our fellowship as we grow and look for new ways to be a positive impact in our community.
I have found ways to engage in service outside of the fellowship, as well. I am an assistant girl scout troop leader, where I hope I can encourage girls to be good citizens and leaders. They will be leading us sooner than we think! Since settling in Virginia after moving around with the army, I have participated in several political campaigns. The Fifth UU principal, "The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large," has encouraged me to participate in "get out the vote" events and canvass for candidates whom I feel represent my UU values in the past several elections. It's not easy for me to knock on doors and talk to people face to face. I'm a classic introvert, but I feel it is essential to work toward a healthy democracy in our country. The mission of the UUFP inspires me to step out of my comfort zone, and to do what I can to make the world better.
How does the UUFP inspire generosity in support of our own congregation, but also in advancement of our UU values in the world?
I have always appreciated how much the UUFP does in our own community. Programs that have immediate impact, like feeding people at PORT and Good Fridays at St. Paul's, are an expression of our UU principal of the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Our share the basket contributions to the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank, Living Interfaith Network (LINK), and the Virginia League of Planned Parenthood show we are committed to economic justice in our community. Steve and I knew right away that the UUFP was the right community for us and our girls. This fellowship belongs to all of us, and we thrive when each member brings their time, talents, and treasures to it.