— from Muriel Downey, Board Member-at-Large
St. Cloud, Minnesota – 1966, my husband and I were invited to join a group of colleagues and friends who were regularly meeting in an old school house to share Sunday services in a Unitarian tradition. Unitarianism was an unknown to both of us at that time having been raised Presbyterians. While there was no settled minister, we were visited occasionally by Unitarian ministers from the Madison and Milwaukee areas. I don’t recall a good deal about the services, but I do remember how comfortable I felt in that spiritual community.
During the 70s, we moved frequently and lived briefly in several cities across the country. We did not attend or join another religious community. Fast forward to 1980 when we moved as a family to Fort Wayne. I soon found myself single with four children in a new city without friends or extended family and I wondered if there happened to be a Unitarian congregation locally. There was! And so began my association with the Fort Wayne Unitarian Universalist Congregation.
It became and continues to be my spiritual home. From that first visit, I and my two youngest children were welcomed and embraced by members of the congregation. The minister at the time and the membership were immersed and, to some extent, leading the way in the desegregation of the local schools. Here was a spiritual community where I and my children found a loving and welcoming community where doubt and questioning were celebrated and acceptance and learning encouraged. It remains so today.
Those two youngest children of mine continue to be Unitarians as adults having been supported through adolescence and the teens by an active, diverse and integrated youth program. Our current youth program strives to continue in this tradition.
If you are searching for a spiritual home, I encourage you to visit us and, hopefully, experience that same comfort for yourself that enveloped me over fifty years ago.