I joined the UU Church, Rockford, in 1982 after the birth of my daughter, Erin. My first visit was prompted by learning that I was 20 weeks pregnant, and facing raising my child as a single mother. I knew I’d need a “village” to help me, and a church seemed like the best place to find one.
Deciding which church was a challenge. I grew up a Presbyterian, but I rejected their doctrine of predestination as a teen. In Rockford, I’d been a Methodist, but rejected the pettiness of members of their choir. As a violist in Rockford Symphony, I was friends with cellist Kay Hotchkiss, who thought I was a “closet Unitarian.” I thought it was worth a try.
My first visit, I sat in the back, which was perfect, because it gave me a great view of the choir. A good choir is my first requirement of a church, and the Unicantors filled that need in spades! That Sunday their anthem was sung a cappella. It was richly arranged with close harmonies that could be raucous if not perfectly in tune, but it was beautiful! I was hooked. It wasn’t until later, after I joined the choir, that I discovered that, theologically, I was a closet Unitarian. And Kay Hotchkiss was the musical director.
It took years for my involvement in the church to deepen from choir member to RE teacher, Trustee on the Board, Summer Minister Committee Chair, Denominational Affairs Chair, and, finally, President of the congregation. Currently I serve as Treasurer on the Board of Trustees, as well as Denominational Affairs Chair, a position I dearly love. The church is my community, where I feel accepted and loved. It also serves as my inspiration to further justice in Rockford, as well as in the greater world. And I’m still a faithful member of the Unicantors.