I am new to church – as I have mentioned I was raised a Roman Catholic, but never a believer (when I received my Confirmation at 13 I was already an atheist), and spent my adult life from 20 to 47 as a practicing Soka Gakkai Buddhist.
Now I am a participant in the local Unitarian Universalist Church. I haven’t “signed the book” yet, but I have pledged a token donation. I am in the choir, and plan to be in the adult sex education series this winter. Yeah, it’s a cool church – I was told 23% of the congregants are atheists as well.
Steeped in American Transcendentalism and in-your-face social activism – in 1969 they gave refuge to several draft dodgers who, apparently, were invited to live for days in the sanctuary – taking that traditional law of sanctuary literally – until the FBI and local police got tired and stormed in, knocking down the congregants amassed to shield the dodgers with their rifle butts.
This is the view from my seat in the choir loft. Raised as a Roman Catholic, I find churches lugubrious, but I am getting used to this one, even with its massive wood vaulting and its stone walls. Part of my being there is honoring my heritage. I sing the hymns – and for now the Christmas carols – that my great great great great great great grandparents, in both Britain and Germany, sang – my grandfathers with their friends over tankards perhaps, my grandmothers to their babies.