By Althea Newman
I am not religious and I do not go to church, but I do believe in God. The God I believe in is faceless, formless, genderless, colorless, and cultureless. In my eyes, this God (or Goddess) is more like a divine spirit. Religion does really interest me. It brings culture, customs, language, ideals, morals, and flavor to the world.
Without religion, I believe we as people of the earth would be much more similar. We would be bland and boring, not exciting and different. As much as people say that religion is bad and that all it does is start conflict. I truly believe religion has a great power to bring people together and it is what people make of it. I think it can save people, help them hope, dream, and achieve a sense of fulfillment and goodness.
So I have decided that I want to be religious. But which one do you choose? How do you commit? There are many many religious denominations to choose from. From Christianity and Catholicism to Jainism and Paganism.
Unitarian Universalism is an all inclusive religion that is characterised by a “free and responsible search for truth and meaning they value intellectual freedom and inclusive love for all and they gathering inspiration and beliefs from all world religions.” All Unitarian Universalists share the same quest for spiritual growth. Unitarian Universalists branched off and left Christianity in 1961, when they established their own religion. They believe that though Jesus was a great prophet and a great teacher, he was not God. Universalism states that religion is a universal human quality. It is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe it can include devotional and ritual observances and often contains a moral code. Unitarian universalist believe that the living truth is seen as more far reaching than national cultural and religious boundaries. Unitarian Universalists are arguably the most inclusive of any religion as they accept all people on the quest for spiritual growth regardless of race gender and sexuality.
There is a Unitarian Universalist church in Humboldt County. The Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is located in Bayside, Arcata. The first service I attended surprised me. A lot of churches strike me as kind of dark and gloomy. This one was not, it was a large bright almost circular room with windows on almost all of the sides. I thought it was really cool to see all the different types of people in attendance a lot of older people and a lot of young children, some hippies and some other more straight laced people; everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. The Minister at the Humboldt Unitarian Universalist fellowship is Reverend Brian Jessep. As soon as my family and I entered the church (I dragged them along), he greeted us and was super friendly and helpful. During the service, many people spoke: the Reverend started the service and there was a lot of singing. One woman spoke about her personal life experiences and how she was helped by Jesus. My favorite part of the service was when the Reverend told a story of Middle Eastern roots on the different ways to pray. I thought it was really interesting to see how many new people came to the church each Sunday. People who had never been before and others that have only been a few times. What is so attractive about this church is that it is a positive environment to get to learn a lot about world religions and experience pieces of all of them instead of only reading directly from the Bible or another religious text. I will definitely be back. Church is every Sunday at 9 or at 11 and you can visit their website http://www.huuf.org/ for more information about what the upcoming service will talk about.