Change: This Time It’s Personal
Change, as we all know, is synonymous with growth. When we think about change in our congregations, we usually think in systemic terms. A different way of conducting worship; renovations or additions to the building; a new way of governing the church. Change, however, is also personal. By living our UU principles, by gaining strength through our faith, we find the courage to change, to grow and to find our lives restored.
I met Allison Woolbert at the JPD District Assembly this March. She was leading a workshop on transgendered persons, specifically herself. I listened with fascination as Allison shared her inspirational life story of courage, love found and lost, and, finally, the realization that in order to live her life as her spirit required, she needed to change. It was through the support of her fellow congregants at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Jersey Shore that Allison was able to find acceptance and the strength to continue the change in her life. Of those congregants, Allison says “their warmth and commitment to truly living the (UU) Principles encouraged me more than anything into coming out as my true self. One of the hardest things about ‘coming out’”, Allison Woolbert continues, “is the fear of persecution. Through the great gift of love, UUCSJS has continued to help me live my life to the fullest.”
Charles DuBois wrote, “The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.” This is the power of Unitarian Universalism. It gives us the strength to take risks; the inspiration to become greater than we are now.
The true value of our faith is realized through the stories of people like Allison and so many others who have found the courage to change.
Allison is available to speak to your congregation. If you too want to be inspired, contact her at email@example.com or 609.662.1776. You can also check out her web site: allisonwoolbert.wordpress.com.
By Mark Bernstein