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New Member Stories: Emily Miller and Jim Burakiewicz

"We wanted to be part of what made the Church a place we were drawn to."
This week's post is an interview with Emily Miller and Jim Burakiewicz about their experiences as new members of the First Unitarian community.

Before you began attending First Unitarian, had you been attending another church or other faith community?
No, not since childhood. Emily had explored Unitarianism before, but had not found a place that fit. Jim had been brought up Catholic and had not attended church for years.

How did you hear about First Unitarian and what made you decide to visit?
Emily had initially found First Unitarian and was interested in its history. We were both looking for a deeper community here in Worcester and decided that First Unitarian was a place to look for it.

Why did you decide to become active participants in the church community?
We found that everyone was so welcoming and friendly that we wanted to become contributing members of the church. As a path of our spiritual gr…
Recent posts

2017 Stewardship Interview Series

You might remember that as part of last year's campaign, the Stewardship Committee coordinated in-person visits with members of the church. The purpose of these visits was to chat about members' experiences at First Unitarian, the four goals of the Stewardship campaign* and member pledges. The core of these conversations was about participation. We discussed questions like: How are you feeling about your connection with the church? Are there any groups, volunteer activities or leadership opportunities that you'd like to be more involved in? What are your thoughts about this year's stewardship goals? Do you have any concerns?


My Experience as a Visiting Steward Our family officially joined First Unitarian at the beginning of 2016. And while we had attended sporadically for years, there were lots of people we didn't know. So when Ellen announced that the Stewardship Committee was looking for volunteers to be visiting stewards, I thought it would be a fun way to meet …

Why Do We Give to the UUA?

If we meet our pledge goal this year of $310,000 (and we are getting close), the Prudential Committee has set as one of the four goals for next year to move closer to paying our full 'fair-share' dues to the UUA.  Many members of our congregation ask why should we do that, wondering what we get in return?  We feel a great answer to that question can be found here.

The time to pledge is now!

First Unitarian Church’s Stewardship campaign for 2017 is well past the halfway point.  We have raised over $200,000, and we have just over $100,000 to go.  The Stewardship team has been energized by the tremendous generosity of our fellow church members and friends.  The commitment and dedication to our spiritual community reflected in this year’s giving are truly inspirational.    As you might have guessed, it’s time to pledge!  Our visiting stewards are still busy contacting church members and friends for visits.  But with the holiday season upon us, we would like everyone to make their pledge as soon as possible.  Please consider increasing your pledge by 20% to help us reach our goal of $310,000. Pledging is easy: Pledge online: http://www.firstunitarian.com/pledgeform.cfm Pledge by phone: call Jennifer in the church office: 508-757-2708 Pledge by e-mail: send a message with your 2017 pledge to Jennifer Bowes (jbowes@firstunitarian.com) Financial giving through annual pledges is just o…

Our Response to a Stewardship Visit

Aaron and I both really appreciated the Stewardship Visit from Lee Reid and Steve Knox. It was nice to talk quietly and make personal connections, and it was good to see what the financial goals of the church were. We had talked through some thoughts about how Aaron and I could contribute to the church community. Lee and Steve seem very connected to the different people in the church, and I know that I appreciated the recommendations for personal introductions. -- Jennifer deWinter
Aaron and I both really appreciated the Stewardship Visit from Lee Reid and Steve Knox. We joined the church hoping to form communal bonds (among other reasons), and we came to realize that people were driving in from all over, so connections outside of church times were harder to form casually. It was nice to talk quietly and make personal connections, and it was good to see what the financial goals of the church were. Lee and Steve seem very connected to the different people in the church, and I know th…

Stewardship: Paying Our Way

We’ve benefited from the UUA’s services directly: during the transition after Tom Shade’s retirement, in the search for our Director of Faith Development, and from a number of materials including our Hymnals and publications from Beacon Press.  Many of our church leaders and members participate in UUA programs that are vital to our church community. --Jesse Anderson
One of our goals in this year’s pledge campaign is to reach a point where we can pay our UUA and New England Region dues, currently $60 and $19 per registered member respectively.  At First Unitarian Church we are used to thinking of “pledging units” or households, but UUA dues are on a per-member basis, so dues for one of our typical pledging units is $158 in 2017.
I’m often asked, “Aside from a copy of the UU World, what do we get for our money?  We have so many things we should be spending it on in our own community!”To answer, I need to talk a little about American Unitarianism in general, as well as our church and the U…

Stewardship: A Bridge to Belonging

Our church on Court Hill is where we practice our beliefs and actions – crazy as they seem to others. It is where we take risks. It is where we can leave our comfort zones.  It is a place to humbly try to live outside of one's self.That is why I'm here. That is why I support First Unitarian. Please join me in this important work. -- Jay Lavelle
At the Prudential Committee retreat in June, we came up with a set of goals for the year 2020. The first was “Create a diversity of modes of spiritual experience for members, friends, children and youth." My own path is relatively diverse: austere New England Trinitarian Protestantism based on service, charity, and being of good will, a dash of Charismaticism, and a heaping spoonful of Tibetan Buddhism. And that is not that uncommon. I know Catholics, Jews, Buddhists of all denominations, and Sufis in my ken, all of whom find a home at First Unitarian. There are agnostics and atheists living by the light of reason. And there are some…