Why I Belong

Stories by our members of how they came to be involved in the Unitarian Universalist Congregation


I grew up without religion. My grandparents were Catholic, but my single parent mom had no use for it. She believed when my sister and I got older we could choose our own religion, if we wanted one. So the only time we went to church was on Christmas Eve, and only because we went to our grandparents’ house and they made everyone go. I remember being bored to tears and counting the minutes until we could go home........

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Last September, my wife and I flew back to Sioux City, Iowa, my home town, for my 40th high school reunion. Along with looking forward to seeing a bunch of my high school buddies, I really wanted to visit the Presbyterian Church where I grew up. As a child, I was very active there. I attended years of Sunday School. I could recite the Apostles Creed....

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The last time I prayed—and really meant it-- I was a teenager. I’d lost my parents’ car keys. I found those keys right away. But I never prayed again. It just didn’t feel right. I couldn’t kick the church-going habit, though, so I tried this one and that, looking for love in all the wrong places, I guess. Meanwhile, I was discovering the foundations of my Unitarianism elsewhere.....

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I was born into a Jewish family in Youngstown, Ohio. The first time I remember questioning my religion was one day when I was walking to Hebrew School. I was in fourth or fifth grade. I was thinking that I really liked the holidays we celebrated and I liked the family and its closeness. But my everyday life didn’t feel the same. It didn’t feel Jewish. I did not have the vocabulary to explain it.....

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When I was 8 yrs old, I told my Lutheran Sunday School teacher, in the church where my great-uncle was the minister, that what she was saying didn't make any sense: I'll teach this class next week. I sang in the children's choir, listened to my uncle thunder and warn the congregation that if they didn't believe, the God of love would have them roast in hell.....

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At the age of 12, during the winter months, I worked for my father who owned a coal yard. My specialty was emptying railroad cars with a blowtorch and breaking wine lock to allow the coal to come out of the bottom. At the age of 16, my older brother and I designed and built over 10,000 small Cauffiel engines used for lawn mowers and garden tractors. I personally started the first Clinton engine in Clinton, Michigan, which became the world’s largest small engine company...

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