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 Sarah Robson.
How did you come to UU Santa Monica?
I once served on Step Up on Second’s Member Advisory Council, along with Jessica Chapin. Over tea and cookies, Jessica told me that I should look at Unitarian Universalism, since my values overlapped the Seven Principles. My first service was the Día de los Muertos celebration in 2014. With my background in Orthodox Christianity, I had to ask as I entered the space, what do people here consider sacred? I immediately perceived that it was the community itself.
I enjoyed the intergenerational outings to different religious sites of worship, and I was soon asked to serve on the Adult RE Committee. I was happy to do so, and I would staff the table after every service. Other activities solidified my involvement with UUSM: the “Building Your Own Theology” workshops, two spiritual retreats, and a host of amazing Adult RE offerings. I felt truly united with the congregation during my New Member Ceremony.
What is your most emotional connection to the church?
Jessica Chapin died in October 2015, just a year after my arrival. UUSM’s Día de los Muertos celebration featured a piano rendition of “Tears in Heaven.” No one knew that Jessica had been a personal assistant to Eric Clapton. I didn’t think I would cry, but that song released a lot of sadness. I performed a bagpipe memorial for her at Step Up, where several UUSM congregants joined. We later pooled our money to buy a brick in her memory for the Garden of Eternity.
Which church activities give you joy?
I especially enjoyed the monthly Visitor Meetups, sharing my enthusiasm for Unitarian Universalism. I would tell people about my background, and my love of world religions and all the different paths of belief. UUSM is a safe place for open-minded exploration. I would say, I enjoy the “ice cream parlor of many flavors. Some of which I love, some I like, and others I don’t want to try again.”
Because of my love for new visitors, I joined the Membership Committee when it re-formed. I also taught Middle School RE for 2 years, hoping to impart my passion for learning about religions to our youth.
Why do you pledge at the fair share level?
This year, I increased my pledge considerably, and I am now giving to UUSM at the visionary level (according to my gross income). I believe in our shared values, and the promises of liberal religion in changing the world for the better. Our UUSM congregants are as close as family to me, in a very good way. I want to see this congregation flourish. You are where my heart is.