Emerging Abundance Profile: Barbara Kernochan

Older woman laughing - Barbara Kernochan - photo

During this month of “Emerging Abundance,” we are connecting with members who pledge their fair share. What motivates us to give more generously, as we help sustain the new growth we have seen in the past year?

This time we hear from Barbara Kernochan.

How did you come to UU Santa Monica?

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Santa Monica has been my church home for 42 years.

I lived overseas as a young adult, spending a dozen years mostly in Muslim countries and later in Vietnam. When my family and I returned to my hometown of Santa Monica, I yearned for a spiritual community that was inclusive of our Muslim friends and my Buddhist husband. I found that community and more right here.

What is your most emotional connection to the church?

I’ve tried to do whatever was needed to build and sustain this community, from napkin folding to Board President. I’ve served as an RE teacher and chair of RE, spent several years on the Board and on the Personnel Committee, chaired the Building Committee when we first undertook to expand our campus, and served on the Nominating Committee until last year.

I currently have the pleasure of working with Norm Richey to pilot our Leadership Development program and with Jacki Weber as a pledge steward. In this last role, I am really enjoying the heart-to-heart conversations about our members’ concerns and ideas for the future of our congregation. We are an awesome and deep-thinking bunch!

Which church activities give you joy?

My first foray into personal spiritual growth was through UUSM’s Build Your Own Theology course. My latest is participating very enthusiastically with Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae and Bettye Barclay’s series, Exploring Mysticism and Spiritual Practice, which wakes me up and fills me up!

Why do you pledge at the fair share level?

Responding to need, I have increased my pledge every year for the past five years and added funding for special projects such as the Forbes Hall reconstruction, as I am able. I guess I’d be considered a “liberal tither”: one who donates around 10% to causes I believe in, half of it to UUSM and half to other non-profits I believe in, including an orphanage in Vietnam where I once lived and taught. And I’ve signed up to host two Dining for Dollars events this summer.

I love this place that brings me together with others who are spiritually curious, socially active, and justice focused. I yearn to recapture those years of broad-based spiritual programming, social get-togethers, activism, and a whole pack of kids growing up with the values we all hold dear.