Following up on last week's video post, here's a 3½-minute video snack where a mix of UUs explain how they came to this tradition. Listening to these voices, it's clear that each person's journey is unique and doesn't necessarily follow a linear path. Some arrived through predictable channels — friends, marriage, family — while others had more surprising stories — and why they decided to stay.

Later this week we'll be posting a longer-form piece that caps this video series of interviews from the Unitarian Universalist 2010 General Assembly. And, next week, a video showcasing a sped-up procession of beautiful quilted banners for the opening day festivities!

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For those interested in exploring further, the Be Spiritual podcast features conversations with Unitarian Universalists about their spiritual journeys and beliefs. You may listen or download at

I came from a background that restricted many things; the way you dress, who you like and/or hang out with, how you were baptized and more. It turned me off and I stopped attending a church for a long time. When I finally decided to "check out" the local UU church, I felt welcome and almost like family from day one!

I was the child of an adamant atheist. While studying physics I investigated Christianity, Mormonism, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. I studied meditation with the Self-Realization Fellowship. I met with Muslims, Jains, Sikhs, Baha'i, and Scientologists. I went to hippie gatherings. I listened to Jehovah's Witnesses. In the end, I found my own path that was informed by all those but not accepted by most. My rare visits to churches were always uncomfortable. When I walked into a UU congregation 14 years ago I was welcomed, valued, trusted, intellectually challenged, morally guided, and spiritually nourished. I've been very active ever since.

I first became a Unitarian Universalist after leaving an abusive marriage and moving with my daughter to a new city. I felt a need for community. I was raised in the Ethical Culture Society which is a secular humanist religion and had been unchurched for many years. As a teen in the 1960's my Ethical Culture youth group had protested the war in Vietnam in marches and weekly vigils in our community. Alongside us were Unitarian youth and I came to see them as kindred spirits. Jump ahead decades later and living where there were no Ethical Societies, I decided to visit the local U.U. congregation. As I sat in my pew that first Sunday, tears streamed down my face listening to the minister say, "We bid you welcome, who come with weary spirit seeking rest. Who come with troubles that are too much with you, who come hurt and afraid. We bid you welcome, who come with hope in your heart...Whoever you are, whatever you are, Wherever you are on your journey, We bid you welcome." And I was welcomed, valued and found a spiritual home where I am safe to explore my own beliefs and learn about those of others. I found a community of diverse people who affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice equity, and compassion in human relations; a free and responsible search for truth and meaning; and a respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.