Last week, four friends of TRUU decided to become members of our congregation, and three of them signed our membership book during the Sunday service. The decision to become a member of a UU congregation is ultimately an individual, inner one, although it is also communal: during the ceremony the congregation promises to include and welcome the new members, and the new members promise to take responsibility for their new role in the congregational community.
If I had a penny for every time someone who attends UU Sunday services regularly has told me, “I’m just not a joiner” I would be wealthy! In fact, I usually tell them that their statement puts them solidly in the majority of UUs. What I’ve seen, over the years, is that there is something in many of us that feels discomfort about aligning ourselves too closely with any religious institution, even one we love. (This might also explain our relatively low average financial support of our congregations.) I think in some ways this is healthy: many UUs grew up in stifling or authoritarian faiths, and we are clear that religion should not be too powerful. On the other hand, anyone who has been part of a UU congregation knows that a UU congregation is a place where important liberal vales – values of justice, peace, tolerance, interconnectedness – are taught to our children and encouraged in each person who attends. Surely that is something worth aligning oneself with? Surely that is something worth supporting?
So, knowing how hard it is for UUs to join anything, I am especially touched by the willingness of these four new members to commit to TRUU! Maura Wamsley is familiar to many of you as one of our talented worship associates, generally accompanied by her daughter Sage. She and her husband Brett moved to Glenwood Springs last year, and we are lucky to have her, since she was a lay leader at Columbine UU in Littleton. Asha Ironwood’s beautiful voice and spirit have graced TRUU for some years now, along with her daughter Anakeesta. She describes herself as a “full-time homeschooling single mom who wears many hats including, glass-blower, photographer, singer, actress, activist and non-profit organizer.” Jan Quint is new to TRUU: she retired to the Roaring Fork Valley from a career in alternative health in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. She is also a long time practicing Buddhist, and a dedicated volunteer for animal rescue. Nancy Ball, who was not able to attend on Sunday, was a UU as a teen in Oklahoma. She was a youth drama teacher for many years before retiring to Carbondale, and her friends Katie and Penny first brought her to TRUU. She wrote, “I am delighted to become part of TRUU.”
Please be sure to congratulate and welcome these four, next time you see them!