According to the Pew Research Center, the percentage of American adults describing themselves as Christians dropped from 77% to 65% in the last decade, and the percentage religiously unaffiliated increased from 17% to 26%. What are we to make of this? What comes to mind for me is that this shift gives us UUs an opportunity – and a responsibility. Here’s what I’m thinking: It seems to me that people need, at least occasionally, to go deeper, to go beyond everyday concerns and to think about their purpose in life, their ultimate fate, and other such big questions. Religion provides a vehicle for this, and if people are becoming disenchanted with traditional religion, perhaps they should take a look at Unitarian Universalism. This is where you come in: you help spread our good news.
You’re chatting with someone – a friend, neighbor, co-worker, next person in line at Wawa: “I’m really tired of Covid – I especially miss going to church on Sunday morning.” “What church is that?” “The Unitarian Universalists, out on South Keim Street.” “Never heard of them. What’s so special about them?” “For me, it’s individual responsibility. No one is going to tell you what you have to believe. You have to use your experience and your head, to figure it out for yourself. What I really like is this line from one of our hymns: ‘Roots hold me close, wings set me free.’”
Or you might have this conversation: “I’m really tired of Covid, but one thing that I like about it is I can sleep late on Sunday morning and still be at church on time – via Zoom.” “Which church is that?” “Unitarian Universalist.” “I’ve heard of them – you can believe whatever you want, or nothing at all.” “You can believe what your reason, your conscience, your experience lead you to believe.” “Are there any beliefs that all of you – or almost all of you – share?” “I’m no expert on this, but here’s one: Democracy.”
It wasn’t until I was in my mid-thirties that anyone invited me to come to a UU church. But better late than not at all. Don’t hesitate to acknowledge your UU affiliation. Be prepared to mention at least one of our seven principles, or to tell your story of how you found Unitarian Universalism, or of a time when the sympathetic moral support of others in the congregation or your UU faith were especially important for you.