My name is Julie, and I have been a member of High Plains Church since January 2003. My husband is also a member, and we have two adult children.
I did not grow up in the UU tradition. I was raised in the Methodist church and attended a local Methodist church until around 2001. It was at this time that I first really started thinking about religion; about what I believed, and what I didn’t believe. As I became more involved with the children’s ministries in the Methodist church, I realized that I didn’t belong there. I started reading a lot of books about religion and talking to anyone who would listen; I do love to talk about those forbidden topics of politics and religion. Eventually, I discovered that I am really a humanist at heart and am non-theistic. Why, then, do I feel the need to come to church? And, more specifically, why do I value this church enough to give so generously of my time and money?
When I first left the Methodist church, I didn’t think I’d ever go to church again. For awhile I was content with the idea of no religion. I was a non-believer and, therefore, had no need for religion. Yet, there was something I missed. While I had come to disagree with pretty much all of the teachings of my old church, I missed the sense of community. And I felt like my children were missing out on something as well. About this time, my cousin started talking about her UU church in Illinois. The idea of a religion where people didn’t have to believe in a specific creed, but, rather, were bound together by shared values, was intriguing.
I started looking at various UU web sites, especially of the two local churches. After reading the posted sermons and other website information for 6 months, I decided to give High Plains a try. So, on Mother’s Day in 2002, I attended my first service at High Plains Church. I found out that day that the minister was going to be leaving soon, but I came back anyway. Every time I came, I met new people and I had interesting conversations. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I had found my religious home. After all, what other church encourages people to stand up after the sermon, and give their own “reflections” about what was said that day!
High Plains Church is a special place. It is a place where I can talk to others about religion, knowing that they may have very different theological beliefs than do I, but also knowing that the conversation is not only safe, but encouraged. It is a place where religious liberals of all types can come together to worship and to learn from each other.
It is a place where my children were able to grow up in an RE program where they learned about, not only our religion, but about other World Religions; where they were encouraged to develop their own beliefs and values, to be socially responsible, to be compassionate and kind, and to appreciate the diversity in our community and in the world.
It is a place where I can join together with others to bring about social change and work for justice. Where, by joining together, we can make our voices and actions more powerful.
It is a place where I can continue this ongoing journey to find truth and meaning that is personal for me, knowing, as we say each Sunday, that I have companions along the way.
High Plains Church has become a very important part of my life. I want to see it flourish, and I want to share it with others in our community. I want to do my part to make our mission of “Building a liberal spiritual community that welcomes all to lives of wholeness” a reality. And I know that to do this takes time and money, which is why I will continue to give generously of both. I hope that you will all do the same. Thank You.