October 7, 2012
Good morning! I am Jen Prout and I have been a member here for about two years.
When I was asked to give a testimonial about why I chose to become a member and why I choose to make a financial pledge of support, the first thought that came to mind was “because I can.” There is more to it than that, of course. It is also because I “care”. I care about this church.
I had been curious about this place for a few years. When I saw the rainbow flag out front and read the “Are you seeking a liberal faith community?” on the outside sign, I decided to take a Sunday off of work and visit. I immediately felt welcome and didn’t sense any type of “falseness” that I had at other churches or from religion in general. And when there were petitions being passed around during coffee hour I was hooked. I don’t work on Sundays anymore. I come here to UUFCM instead!
I was raised by a non-apologetic Atheist mother. The phrases “religious nuts” and “money-grubbing hypocrites” were used often. Needless to say we did not go to church. But we did go to a lot of rallies and peace protests. And we were ALWAYS boycotting something. And I am grateful for that upbringing. We cared about people and we showed it.
As an adult I strayed for a bit and even took my kids to church. The second year my daughter went to “church camp”, my mother asked, “Does Justine believe in God?” “I think so,” I said. My mother hung her head and replied: “Oh, that’s too bad.” I thought to myself that maybe there were worse things but didn’t say it.
Although I didn’t stay with that church I did learn that they were not necessarily crazy money-grubbers after all (well, not all of them anyway). But too many things didn’t “fit” for me. I had too many questions that went unanswered or were answered with “because the Bible says so.” And that did not work for me. But I grew to enjoy and appreciate having and being part of a church family, a church community.
I was so glad to find that here at the UUFCM. It was too good to be true that I could find a community that stands together on issues that are important to me like marriage equality, racial justice, human rights, peace and environmental issues. We stand united but can still be comfortable in our individuality, ask questions, have discussions without fearing judgment.
At my path to membership class when the question of pledging came up, I thought, “Oh, here we go”, but as I thought about it I realized that this church is important to me. It’s a place that I want to continue on, it “needs” to exist in our community. So I came up with an amount that was doable for me. It may not be a lot in comparison to some others but it’s what I can give financially. I do other things that I feel good about, too. Volunteering to set up the sanctuary once a month, buying the fair trade coffee, helping with potlucks, refreshments and other social events.
So I give what I can because I can and because I care. I care about our UU community and the people in and around it.
P.S. My Mom says it’s cool, too.
February 15, 2015