Youth Service Senior Reflection
April 10, 2011
When I hang out with my friends the feel of the group dynamic is very light. We constantly joke around and make fun of each, and nothing is off limits. So if I mention something about church or youth group I hear this “Oh yeah the religion that isn’t a real religion” or “going to hang out with the cultists again”. Now these are my friends so of course they’re only kidding and I never take any offense. I just make a comment right back, usually something about their mother to be perfectly honest. But when sitting at home earlier this week, I thought about what my time at this church has meant to me and I realized that to a certain extent my friends were right. Not about the cult part of course! My time at this church hasn’t solely been about the religious aspects of Unitarianism, or about me making a spiritual breakthrough and realizing my true purpose in the world. Instead the two things that have made my time at this church special are the community I have been a part of and the way of looking at the world that I have developed. Ever since I was little, singing in choir and doing the musicals, the Unitarian community has been very special for me. Some of my best friends are in this room today and I love everyone in the youth group to death. At church I can feel completely comfortable being myself, whether that is silly and “out there” or serious and thoughtful. And I love that the church has allowed me to make connections that I wouldn’t normally have made, with kids from other schools, and with adults from around town. The support and love that I get from the people of this church has made growing up and being a teenager much easier then it could have been otherwise. The second thing that the church has really done for me is helped me develop my worldview. Starting all the way back in RE I learned about the interconnected web of life and the inherent worth and dignity of all people. As much as I groaned back then, these teachings, and other like them, have shaped the way I see the world and the values I try to live by. Many of the beliefs that I feel most strongly about (compassion, justice, acceptance, etc) were planted in me by lessons, homilies, or sermons I heard in this building. These beliefs have impacted everything from the activities I do in my free time, to the colleges I applied to this fall. In fact one of the things I did when looking at various schools was check to see if they had some sort of UU group or organization on campus. For a long period of my life when asked about religion I described myself as an atheist or an agnostic. I still don’t know whether I believe in God or not, but now when people ask I say that I am a Unitarian Universalist. This church has given so much to me over the years and I will always be grateful for that. Thank you.