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 month we hear from Larry Weiner.
How did you come to UU Santa Monica?
Laura and I were married by a UU minister in 1995 at the time. At the time, we knew nothing about Unitarian Universalism. The minister let us craft our own service, which seemed remarkable. Several years later, we found ourselves at UUSM for a memorial service. I immediately felt at home in this congregation. When my son Jacob turned 9, we decided this would be a great place to give him a values-based education.
What is your most emotional connection to the church?
Soon, Laura and I became RE teachers. I’ve taught at nearly every level, from second grade through Coming of Age and OWL. The experience of working with UU youth was the highlight of my early years at the church. I especially loved facilitating Coming of Age. My son continued in RE though YRUU and really enjoyed it. He loved going on service fieldtrips to New Orleans and Tijuana. I can truly say that my son has the soul of a UU.
In what I would call my own self-directed “Building Your Own Theology” class, I discovered a God that both humanists and theists can love. I wrote a parable about this God, with the help of several fellow UUSM congregants. This demonstrates that UU inspires creativity and deep thought.
Which church activities give you joy?
After several years of teaching, things changed in 2019 when I was invited to provide my service to the Board of Directors, first as a Member at Large and then later as Secretary. It has been an honor to serve the church in this way. Yes, it’s both challenging and rewarding. I can see my own personal growth through this process.
What I most like about being UU is that it doesn’t matter what one believes about how the universe came to be, as long as you live in accordance with our Seven Principles. And I am constantly getting to “practice what it means to be human,” which means I don’t have to be perfect. I can make mistakes with a good heart, and I will continue to be accepted and cherished.
Why do you pledge at the fair share level?
Although I have been retired for some time, my wife Laura is going to retire later this year. Because of this, our income is about to decrease. Even so we are taking a leap of faith. We are raising our pledge by 10% and giving a supplemental one-time gift. I see being part of this congregation as an opportunity for us to work with others to help create a more loving world. This is the most important work we do.