By Gayle Phillips
This reflection was read aloud by its author from UUFP’s pulpit on Sunday, February 11, 2018.
How the UUFP has made a Positive Difference in my Life
I was always a Unitarian Universalist; I just had never heard of it until 2003.
I joined a Protestant church in Newport News as a teenager and continued to visit that congregation occasionally, as my parents became members there at the same time. However I was uncomfortable repeating words that in my heart I did not believe, and I drifted away from any religious affiliation.
My husband happened to drive by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula (UUFP) one Sunday morning in 2003 and stopped in to hear the service. When he came home afterwards and shared his experience, we decided to return the following Sunday.
That visit was the beginning of a wonderful journey for me. I had found the religious community that I had always wished might exist, where I was free to ask questions and express my thoughts without fear of rejection or ridicule. After a few more visits, we decided to become official members and signed the book on November 20, 2003.
How fortunate I was to find this wonderful church community. It has given me many opportunities to develop my own belief system; inspiring sermons, thought provoking forums and classes, Fellowship Circles and much, much more. The members of this congregation are warm and welcoming, and I truly feel that I belong here.
To me, it is very freeing to be in a church community where we may believe something entirely different from the person sitting next to us and that’s okay. We can celebrate each other’s truths and learn so much in the process. I am finally encouraged and supported on my spiritual path. My only wish is that I had found this place much sooner!
I am also very grateful for opportunities I have had to be of service to our UUFP community. My experience with our Fellowship Circle groups has deepened my connections to our church, as has being a part of a Hospitality Team and the Policy Board.
I am so grateful to be a member of a congregation that serves the greater community with our time, talent and treasure. There is much work that needs to be done, and I am honored to be able to help us achieve the dreams and vision we are creating together.
I love this community; it is where I belong.