— from Danny Swim, Secretary of Board of Trustees

How did I get here?

I have attended and been a member at UUCFW since 2009. My wife Terri and I had previously attended a UU fellowship in Menomonie, WI for two years, 1998-99. Terri became a member there, I did not. After two more moves of our household and the addition of three children, we (mainly Terri) felt compelled to attend church again, especially after the unexpected death of her brother.

It was not an easy decision to attend a church that on a good Sunday morning takes about 35 minutes to arrive. Yet, it was one of the best decisions we have ever made. We immediately felt welcome and this feeling has only gotten stronger over the years. We felt so welcome that within weeks of our first visit, we gladly stepped up to serve in many ways including: bringing snacks, teaching youth RE for Terri and joining Buildings and Grounds for me. For both of us this very quickly resulted in co-chairing our respective committees.

Buildings and Grounds was a perfect fit for me and that is why I did it for 6-plus years. As a stay-at-home Dad, I have a schedule that allowed me to be available during the week and to make fulfilling those duties easier. Also, I enjoy making, fixing, growing, and organizing things and even tearing things down. What better way to serve UUCFW than doing things I enjoy.

Then in 2014 I was asked to fill in on the board after a couple of Board members resigned in a short period of time. I must not have messed things up too badly because, for the following year, I was asked to be on the Board again. I initially declined. However, a very persuasive member asked if I would join as the Board Alternate, which I then agreed to. It was a gratifying year of service and I thought that would be the end of Board work for a while. I should have known better.

The following year, two members approached me with compelling reasons I should serve on the Board a full three-year term and as Congregational Vice President the first year with the goal of President the following. These wonderful and persuasive members certainly had more confidence in me than I had in myself to lead the congregation. But I took stock and what I found at UUCFW was a strong and supporting board including a great President to work under the first year, a fabulous Minister to work with, and a congregation that had a wonderful momentum about it. Why not step up? I have come to love the UUCFW community with its unique building, beautiful grounds, and awesome people.

Having served as Vice President and President, and with one more year on the Board I volunteered to be Secretary. I was hoping that my efforts in this position would be one less thing that Rebecca would have to worry about going into a year with the Minister on sabbatical for the first four and a half months. With all of this leadership work, I have glimpsed sides of UUCFW that not everyone gets to see. Having done so, I have gained a tremendous respect for all of the folks that have held these positions before me. I know that in the overall historical life of our congregation, my part has been small; but if it has helped move this community forward, then my service will have been worth it. I have certainly been outside my comfort zone for the last four years (give me a door to fix any day), but, how can we grow if we don’t stretch ourselves once in a while?

Danny Swim

© 2015 Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fort Wayne