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Caren Franco

Caren Franco
Member Reflection

I first learned about UU from a pagan parenting message board on AOL. My mom wanted my daughters to go to Hebrew school, but I wanted them to learn about ALL religions that were out there. It was someone on that message board who had suggested the RE program at a UU congregation.

What brought me to UUFLB was that after looking in an actual, physical phone book,  UUFLB was the only listing with a website (it was 2002...I guess websites weren't as ubiquitous as they are now?). But that was my first introduction to Unitarian Universalism, and some of the tenants of UU.

Looking back, I don't remember who I met that first Sunday, I only remember the feeling I had that this place understood me; the principals made sense to me. Now, I never had a bad or traumatic situation with Judaism,  my birth religion,  it just didn't make sense to me.  But here I was, reading a list of the UU principals, and thinking that I had come home.

It was only a few years later that I had read in either UU World or other similar publication that this was a common feeling and that I was not alone.

While I started coming with the girls for the RE program, the variety of the services and the myriad sermons were for me. The minister at the time called the sermons an 'invitation to thought,' which is exactly what they were for me: they invited me to think about the topic of the day and what my thoughts and  feelings were - and that it was all right to disagree with what was put forth.

I think my defining moment was while we were planning one of our holiday shows - but I don't remember exactly when this was though - the person working with the kids was Jennifer Keyser.  Before I came to UUFLB, I'd been a solitary pagan for a few years, and I'd hoped that being somewhere like UUFLB,  I might meet people who I could talk to about paganism. This is a very big deal for solitaries!  So, at that service prep day, we were going to be presenting a service called 'The Light of Life,' explaining how all the different religions celebrated the Light in the dark of winter. I  hear Jen call my name, followed by "we need a Pagan!"  I smiled, knowing I'd found the place I wanted to be.