Well, those questions are likely to be answered differently by each person who claims the titles.
Many of us arrive at this church for the first time a little wary of religious stereotypes we have encountered. We wonder if we will fit in with the people we meet. We wonder if we will like what we hear in the services. We wonder if the theology will make us feel confined or uncomfortable. For some, coming to church is about crossing off the reasons why we might not want to come back. We start by dealing with negatives.
Not surprisingly those who do come back feel a measure of relief with the answers they find to all of the above questions. Because many of us start with those concerns, when someone asks us what Unitarians are, we often begin with, “Well they are NOT…” You can fill in the blank for yourself.
That was how I first answered the questions when I started attending a long time ago. Sometimes and in certain situations I still find myself saying, “Well, we are not that!!!” It’s usually a response to someone trying to stick me and my church in a pigeonhole of their own design.
Over the last months the Board has been discussing a book called “Fishing Tips”. It’s an account of how a United Church congregation in Calgary changed their point of view and their activities and grew in astonishing ways. One of the steps they took was to become clearer on who they are and how they carry out their mission. It’s a lesson we might all find useful. In the weeks ahead we encourage conversations about who we are as Unitarians. Maybe we can move away from “They are not” to “We are!” spoken with enthusiasm and ownership.
See you in church!
P.S. On a personal note, the Kiely family is moving in March to the Alberta Avenue part of town. I will be in the new house doing some painting and renovation the week of March 12-16 and using up some accrued vacation time. I will be available by phone and email, but just out of the office that week.