See also commentary - heritage

 Contents: UU World July/August 2002
Contents: July/August 2002

o d y s s e y

Pastoral Call

by Helena Chapin

In 1964, I was pregnant with my third child in four years and had been to a Labor Day picnic the day before I went into labor. A woman at the picnic was the daughter of a couple that had helped to start the congregation in Plandome, New York, now known as the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock. My four-year-old was beginning to ask all those theological questions four-year-olds ask, and this woman insisted I was a Unitarian and didn't know it. Heard that before?

So, when my husband drove me to the hospital early the next morning, instead of putting down "Episcopalian" as I usually did, I marked "Unitarian" on the religious preference line and forgot all about it. The next morning, to my horror, a man with a large bunch of flowers arrived, introduced himself as the Unitarian Universalist minister in town, and said he was delighted to be able to bring me last Sunday's chancel flowers. He went on to wonder how he had missed me in church and asked if we were relatively new in the area. I mumbled something about too many babies to attend church, thanked him profusely for the flowers, and quietly died of embarrassment.

Well, any of you who knows someone who has been raised as a proper WASP will know that I had to go to church at least just once. It was what a well brought up young woman had to do. So, later that fall, I went to the First Parish in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and the rest is history!

The Rev. Helena Palmer Chapin is minister of religious education at the First Unitarian Church of Rochester, New York. She has been a Unitarian Universalist religious educator since 1968. This passage is excerpted from an address delivered at the Unitarian Universalist Ministers' Association Convocation in Birmingham, Alabama, in March.

 Contents: UU World July/August 2002
UU World XVI:4 (July/August 2002): 17

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