OUUF is a slightly smaller fellowship than the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Michigan (UUFCM). They have never had a full-time minister, so lay leadership has always been important there. Two elders in the church, Barbara Fuchsman and Lisette Burwasser, were especially important as role models for me during my years there. Both continue to lead services and do committee work for the Fellowship; Barbara is especially involved in social justice work and Lisette is a pagan leader at OUUF. They both sing in the choir.
When I walked in on Sunday morning, I took my seat next to Barbara and Lisette. As we stood to sing the first hymn (it was We’ll Build a Land), it struck me that this hymn is familiar and beloved to me because of my years at OUUF. Whenever I sing that song – and many others from our gray hymnal – I hear in my mind the voices of Barbara and Lisette, especially Barbara:
We’ll build a land where we bind up the broken
We’ll build a land where the captives go free
OUUF is different from UUFCM in some ways: they are a little smaller (about 30 people were at Sunday worship), they have a part-time minister instead of full-time. And they are very similar: they are in a Midwest college town, their history includes years of meeting in homes and other places before getting a building of their own—and most importantly, they share our UU values.
There are more than 1,000 Unitarian Universalist churches and fellowships across the country. I’ve preached in more than a dozen and visited many more for worship or other events. Each one has its flavor and personality, and each one is connected by our shared UU values. I feel a sense of home in any UU space, and a special sense of home at the Oberlin Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. It’s good to be connected, to be grounded, to belong, and to believe in something. May we all find our place of belonging.
Spirit of Life and Love:
Voice of Wisdom and Love Within:
This is my prayer for myself; for everyone who has found a spiritual home in a UU congregation or another faith community; and for everyone who does not have a faith community they call home.
May we find our way home. May we know that home is where we feel safe, trusted, listened to, where we are seen. May we find our place where we know others and they know us, where we feel the connection of love and acceptance flowing between and among us. This feeling of home may be in a family, in a classroom, in a house of worship, in a campground, in a meeting. We know it when we find it. We all want it and need it to be fully human and alive.
May every person, with no exceptions, know the joy and love of feeling at home.