“Native Peoples and Nature” – Rev. Elaine Gehrmann & Amy Carlson

We have done much damage to our land, and to its original inhabitants.  As we contemplate our annual celebration of gratitude, let us consider some practical and spiritual guidance offered by indigenous peoples, and how we might work to repair our relationships with them and with … read more.

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A Place to Be
and to Be-come

In my dream I entered a great mansion with many rooms. Wondering, I wandered from empty room to empty room. Up ahead around a hallway corner I heard the reassuring sound of human voices, murmurs of conviviality, discussions of importance, even songs of joy. But then, I always woke up.

I had this dream recurrently through my middle and later adult years. It became somewhat annoying, not just because of its frequency, but because on its face it didn’t seem that difficult to interpret.

As a seeker, forty years unchurched, I was looking for a place to be – me; and in reality I had looked in many of life’s rooms. I sought community, a place of mutual spiritual support; a haven of important human ideas.

Coming late in life to Unitarian Universalist Church of the Monterey Peninsula my search has been fulfilled. And I think UUCMP is important.

When I joined the church four years ago, I was reminded of the three T’s I’d learned about decades before: that is - support for a church by the giving of one’s treasure, time and talent. I do what I can about the first T, treasure. I hope you will, too. It takes material support to house a spiritual community with its programs for worship, education, art, music and social action. And equally important for me has been the donation of my time and talent to the ongoing programs of the church: in my case, the membership committee, worship associates, the ministerial search committee and now as Program Council Moderator, a member of the Board of Trustees.

From my standpoint, being a pledging member of this church and volunteering to support its programs has allowed me the joy of being a part of a bold and exciting mission and vision. It has allowed me to get to know so many of you and to develop friendships I would not otherwise have garnered. It has allowed me to use my personal skills and talents and to feel the reward of the appreciation of these gifts. And it has broadened the scope of my personal pursuits and allowed me to reach for new goals.

Each week a member of the UUCMP Board of Trustees or a committee chairperson greets us at the beginning of worship with these words. “Our purpose is to change our own lives even as we work to change the world around us through love, learning, and service to others. There are many opportunities here to do those things and make enriching human connections.”

By its own stated mission, UUCMP is not just a place to be, but also, importantly a place of be-coming.

So may UUCMP give us each and all a place to be ourselves and to share our unique talents with each other in community toward the unfolding goals of being, meaning, goodness, truth and beauty, all in the context of love.

So may it be.

Ray Krise
January 28, 2018

I am a pretty new member to this congregation, only since 2013. My background is as an East Coast UUer (more about that at another time) and an Easterner by disposition in general.

I came to this church because I wanted to be transformed, to transcend the wearying and weighty materialism of the world, to deal with a lingering, paralyzing concern with death. I joined because the first four times I attended service I felt transformed, I felt transcended; indeed, I felt I had found my spiritual home.

A home amongst loving strangers.

Here was and is a world of peace, of love, of harmony, and that gentle light.

My worlds had been filled with angst and strife, and a deepened, deepening darkness. What a change!

Here I listen to your stories, smile and cry with them. And when I do smile, it’s a bare naked smile. When I cry, the tears are pure and clear.

What do I love about this church? That’s simple.


When I was asked to do this testimonial, I first thought about our wonderful principles and practices but decided instead to tell you a story, a true story, filled with true facts.

Four or so years ago I fell, broke my tailbone, and was laid up at Carmel Hills Rehab for about three weeks. Meanwhile, my late husband was tethered to an oxygen machine and couldn’t leave the house.
To the rescue—the Caring Network, who kept him supplied with tasty and nourishing meals until I was back on my feet. When I told this story to a good friend who belongs to a large, local Catholic church, she was amazed that my church provided this service, and I was amazed that hers, apparently, does not.
That’s my story.

Many years ago Rev. Marge Keip, at the beginning of a pledge drive, said, “Don’t give until it hurts; give until it feels good.” When I make my pledge to UUCMP, to you, to us, I feel really, really good.
Now that I can thrive with five, I feel even better.