Testament delivered at UUC on January 28, by Susan Howlett

Do you remember when you first heard about Unitarian Universalism?  My husband David grew up in a small town in Colorado, and in junior high, his friend kept telling him about the amazing minister at the UU church – some guy named Leon Hopper.

I first heard about Unitarians from a professional colleague when I was in my 30s.  She kept saying, “Susan, you are such a UU – you just don’t realize it yet!”  Her name was Sheridan Hopper – she was Leon’s daughter!

One day in the late 90s, David and I showed up here for the first time, demoralized by a devastating business failure.  And who was in the pulpit?  Leon Hopper, then the minister at Eastshore Unitarian in Bellevue.  He was on the search committee that had found Jon, and he was introducing him to the congregation for the first time.  After a service filled with great music, a thought-provoking sermon, and readings from Dante, NOT the Bible, we were hooked!

That’s how WE got here.  What’s YOUR story?

Over the years, we found ourselves surrounded by remarkable people here who were taking their UU principles into the world and making big waves.  We were worshipping with people who founded

  • The Children’s Alliance,
  • The Crisis Clinic,
  • Hospice, and
  • People’s Memorial Assn.

Other people were leading cutting edge organizations like Planned Parenthood, and getting our church involved in AIDS Housing and the Sanctuary movement.

We were also supported by quiet steady people who helped our two children weather difficult teen years, growing into principled young adults with a deep sense of responsibility to spend their lives working for justice and a sustainable world.  Our kids were shaped by the adults who guided them through Coming of Age, Our Whole Lives, and leadership development opportunities like cons.

Recently our son brought his new fiancé here, suggesting that they — and the children they hope to have — will need a place like UUC to make sense of a complicated world.

Each of us holds a dream for the future of this place.  My dream is that we carry the flame of the amazing people who came before us, and keep it alight for those coming after us.  When I hear “Not for Ourselves Alone” I picture:

  • The women who conceived this congregation over 100 years ago
  • The people who built this church
  • The young people we’ve all raised and launched from here
  • The hundreds of nonprofits we’ve partnered with in our fights for justice
  • The people who are searching for us right now, but haven’t found us yet
  • The people who’ll need us to face a troubled world   generations from now

That’s my dream – to pull the thread from our church’s early days through our time and into the future.  What’s YOUR dream?

I urge you to attend one of the 25 stewardship gatherings we’ve scheduled in the next two months   so we can hear your stories of how you got here, what this place means to you, and your hopes for the future of our Beloved Community.  Join us!